Asean, China to have 2nd maritime exercise

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu attending the 13th Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting Retreat in Bangkok. (Twitter pic)

BANGKOK: Asean and China have agreed to conduct another maritime exercise to promote peace in the region, following a similar one in October last year.

Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu said the 10 Asean members and China had agreed in principle to take part in the second multilateral naval drills.

“We have agreed to conduct the second maritime exercise. However, we did not discuss in detail when and where it will be held.

“The joint naval exercise is another effort by Asean and China to ensure peace and stability in the region,” he told reporters here today.

When asked whether the maritime exercise would become an annual event, Mohamad said that had not been decided yet.

Earlier, Mohamad attended the Asean+1 (China) Retreat. Mohamad is in Bangkok for the 13th Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Retreat and 6th ADMM-PLUS.

Thailand is holding the Asean chair this year.

ADMM is the meeting among defence ministers of the 10 Asean countries to discuss security mechanisms in promoting peace and stability in the region and to strengthen strategic defence cooperation.

In October last year, Asean and China conducted their first naval drills at the Zhanjiang naval base in southern China.

In September this year, Asean and the United States conducted their first maritime exercise, which started at the Sattahip naval base in Thailand and ended in Singapore.

Jointly led by US and the Royal Thai navies, the exercise stretched into international waters in South East Asia, including the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea, before concluding in Singapore.