China, ASEAN hail 1st drill

Global Times
Li Jiayao
Photo: Li Huamin

The first China-ASEAN joint military drill began Monday in Zhanjiang, South China's Guangdong Province, a sign of commitment from both sides to safeguard regional peace and stability.

The drill is aimed at putting the consensus between the Chinese and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) military leaders into practice, deepening defense cooperation between China and ASEAN members and boosting mutual trust, Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Southern Theater Command chief Yuan Yubai said at the drill's opening ceremony on Monday.

The drill is of significance as it is not only the first time ASEAN has conducted a joint military drill with a single country, but also the first time the PLA has conducted a maritime drill with ASEAN. It is likewise the first multinational drill the PLA Southern Theater Command has organized since its establishment, Yuan noted.

Yuan said he expects the drill to become an important platform for officers and soldiers from different countries to communicate and understand each other.

Yuan hoped it would become a new start to build a community of shared future between China and ASEAN and jointly maintain peace and security in the region.

The drill includes harbor activities, maritime exercises and an exercise summary.

Participants will engage in exchange activities and discuss military medication and diving work, inspect rescue training and take part in desktop tactics.

The ASEAN delegations were also invited to inspect a new Chinese-guided missile destroyer and training ship.

The drill is scheduled Monday to Sunday in sea and air to the east of Zhanjiang, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

ASEAN members including Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines, will send military vessels to join Chinese vessels in the drill.

Chinese State Councilor and National Defense Minister Wei Fenghe on Sunday hailed the first-ever joint military exercise as a milestone event that will showcase the resolve and determination of China and ASEAN to safeguard regional peace and stability.

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