Philippines joining naval drill between ASEAN and China
The Philippines and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN) will hold a first-ever naval exercise with China in Zhanjiang in China this month, defense and military officials said Monday.
Department of National Defense public affairs chief Arsenio Andolong said the exercise, set from Oct. 22 to 29, will be held at the proposal of Chinese defense officials during a meeting in Singapore.
"The proposal for a joint ASEAN and Chinese exercise was submitted in February of this year during the ADMM (Asean Defense Ministers Meeting) in Singapore. It was proposed to the body which the body approved," said Andolong in an interview in Camp Aguinaldo.
Andolong said defense ministers agreed as long as it is not held in a disputed area.
In a phone interview with reporters, Navy Flag Officer in Command Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad said "this is the first exercise involving ASEAN navies and China."
"We (Philippine Navy) we have had exercises with Association of Southeast Asian navies but it is only now that China is becoming part of the equation," he said
Empedrad said BRP Bacolod or BRP Laguna, both landing ship tanks, will be sent.
Empedrad said the exercises are "maneuvers, inter-operability exercise, HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster response." DMS