BANGKOK, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) pledged on Sunday to further strengthen defense cooperation to safeguard regional stability.
The pledge was made at the 10th China-ASEAN Defense Ministers' Informal Meeting, which was co-chaired by Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.
Thailand is ASEAN's rotating chair this year.
In the past year, China and ASEAN have been working to boost cooperation in defense and security and actively implement the consensus reached by the two sides, making notable achievements, Wei said.
The two sides have enhanced communication in bilateral and multilateral occasions, consolidating the foundation for mutual trust, he said.
China and ASEAN have conducted two joint naval drills and the first ever exchange of defense think tanks, said Wei, adding both sides have also conducted the first friendly exchange of middle-aged and young military officers.
China and ASEAN have also effectively managed the differences and actively pushed forward cooperations to maintain peace, he said.
Pointing out that the developments of both China and ASEAN are at a new historical point, Wei said China will continue to firmly support the building of the ASEAN community and ASEAN's central role in regional cooperation.
Wei called on the two sides to carry out defense communication at all levels, continue to hold joint naval drills, boost cooperation in staff training, equipment and technology, disaster relief and the fight against terrorism, so as to maintain regional security and stability and contribute to the building of a closer community with a shared future between the two sides.
ASEAN defense leaders spoke highly of the development of the China-ASEAN ties, and expressed support for China's proposals of promoting China-ASEAN defense ties.
They expressed the willingness to continue to enhance communication and coordination with China and promote practical cooperation on defense and security, so as to jointly safeguard regional peace and stability and achieve development and prosperity.