The Chinese government has expressed interest in conducting joint military drills and exercises with Philippines and other ASEAN countries. This was stated by Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Chang Wanquan at the China-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting in Beijing, China last Friday.
“In order to address common risks and challenges, China is willing to hold a joint drill with ASEAN countries regarding the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea and a joint drill regarding maritime search and rescue and disaster relief,” Chang said.
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.
National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin was present during the said meeting. “We must keep the lines of communication open through dialogues with all parties involved,” he said. However he added that “maritime disputes are complex issues that should be resolved by rules-based solutions.”