Beijing's drill proposal 'well received'

Updated: 2015-10-18 22:08


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A proposal by State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Chang Wanquan to hold a joint drill with ASEAN countries next year has been "well received", Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin confirmed.

Chang, when chairing an informal meeting of China-ASEAN defense ministers in Beijing, said "China is willing to hold a joint drill with ASEAN countries regarding the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea" in order to address common risks and challenges.

At a welcoming reception for the Xiangshan Forum hosted by Chang, Liu said that he was glad the Chinese drill proposal has been "well received by ASEAN countries".

The code aims at heading off accidents and miscommunication at sea to reduce the possibility of conflict.

Members of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium - including China, the United States and the majority of ASEAN countries - adopted the code in April last year.

"China is dedicated to championing maritime security and order in the region, as well as the building of mechanisms and rules," Liu said.

Nguyen Vu Tung, professor and vice-president of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, noted that main sources of threat to sea lines of communication include natural disasters, organized crime, commercial shipping accidents and environmental incidents.

Yao Yunzhu, a forum panelist and director of the Center for China-America Defense Relations at the PLA’s Academy of Military Science, noted that "China is one of the largest interested parties when it comes to maritime route security", as 90 percent of China’s foreign trade is transported on the sea lanes.

"China’s developing trade, energy supplies and its long-term economic growth - they all depend upon the security of international maritime routes...Perfect conditions on the sea lanes best serve Chinese interests," Yao told China Daily.

Following the establishment of lighthouses on two Chinese reefs in the South China Sea, Liu said China will continue building other facilities for civilian purposes and those benefiting international wellbeing.

"Countries alongside the South China Sea and vessels sailing through the waters will receive better services," Liu said.

When addressing the 400 guests at the reception, Chang noted that ensuring peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific and achieving long-standing tranquility of the region is "popularly supported among various regional countries, and is the duty of defense departments and militaries of various countries".

China’s decision to host the Xiangshan Forum "eyes offering a platform that enables discussions on Asia-Pacific security cooperation by various parties", Chang said.

All parties are expected to stick to the principle of "mutual respect and trust, consolidating consensus and eliminating differences, cooperation and win-win", exchange their views, coordinating their positions, and make their interests better integrated, Chang said.