Defense chief makes strong statement before Chinese, ASEAN counterparts

During the China-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting in Beijing, China Friday, Department of National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said that “maritime disputes are complex issues that should be resolved by rules-based solutions.”

And as such, parties involved must refrain from unilateral action that can change the status quo and increase the tension.

“We must keep the lines of communication open through dialogues with all parties involved.”

The Philippines is presently involved in maritime dispute with China regarding some features of the West Philippine Sea. The country is resolved to ease the tension via diplomatic means.

As this develops, Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan called upon ASEAN and China to continue promoting practical cooperation such as in the areas of peacekeeping operations, joint patrols, disaster response and deepening of trust between the concerned countries.

In view of the adoption of the Code of Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), when China hosted the Western Pacific Naval Symposium in 2014, China proposed to conduct joint training on CUES in 2016.

Chang stressed that China would not seek hegemony, its foreign policy is defensive in nature, and it adopted a strategy of active defense –- proof of which is the reduction of the People’s Liberation Army’s strength by 300,000.