ASEAN naval ships arrive in China for joint maritime exercise

October 22, 2018 (Google Translation) – All participating naval ships got concentrated at a military port in Zhanjiang, South China’s Guangdong Province, and were ready for ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise 2018-2018 as the Philippine logistic support vessel (LSV) BRP Dagupan City arrived at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The Military band of the Chinese PLA Navy performed music at the port to welcome the arrival of all participating troops from ASEAN countries. The Chinese naval ships were adorned with nautical flags to convey welcome and show courtesy.

The Chinese Navy sent the guided missile destroyer Guangzhou (Hull 168), missile frigate Huangshan (Hull 570) and comprehensive supply ship Junshanhu (Hull 961) for the exercise. The participating ships of ASEAN countries include the Formidable-class frigate RSS Stalwart from Singapore, the patrol ship Daruttaqwa from the Royal Brunei Navy, the frigate Taksin from the Royal Thai Navy, the frigate Tran Hung Dao from Vietnam and the Philippine logistic support vessel (LSV) BRP Dagupan City.

According to Li Bailin, deputy director of the Office of the Staff Department of the navy under the PLA Southern Theater Command, China first proposed the joint maritime exercise with ASEAN countries at the China-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting in 2015 and got active responses from all parties. Subsequently, China and ASEAN countries exchanged views for several times and reached consensus on main contents of the joint exercise. During the China-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting held this year, the leaders of all parties agreed to participate in a Table-Top Exercise in Singapore and a real-troop exercise in China within the year.

The ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise 2018-2018 will be held from Oct. 22 to 28. The participants will carry out exchange activities and real-troop exercises in Zhanjiang and the water and air spaces east of it. The joint exercise involves the use of the “Code for Unplanned Encounters”, joint search and rescue, as well as formation and communication among warships.

The exercise is an important action to implement the consensus reached by Chinese and ASEAN defense ministers, deepen China-ASEAN defense security cooperation and enhance mutual trust. It will also help promote military relations between China and ASEAN countries, strengthen maritime security cooperation, and enhance capability of joint response to security threats.