BEIJING (AP) _ Xiao Jingguang, former commander of the Chinese navy and vice minister of defense, died at the age of 86, the official Xinhua News Agency said Thursday.

Xiao, who also served as vice chairman of China's legislature, the National People's Congress, died Wednesday, Xinhua said. The cause of death was not available.

Xinhua said Xiao was born in the southern city of Changsha, near the birthplace of Mao Tse-tung, and joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1922, a year after its founding, while studying in Moscow.

He returned to China in 1924 and served in various posts in the Red Army, including political commissar of the 11th army and commander of the Fujian- Jiangxi Military Area. He held senior posts during the Long March of 1935-36, the war against Japan and the civil war with the Nationalists.

Xiao rose to the rank of admiral in 1955.