General Fang Fenghui, chief of the Joint Staff Department under China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), shakes hands with Helene Quilter (L), the visiting Secretary of Defense of New Zealand, in Beijing on June 28, 2016. (mod.gov.cn/Li Xiaowei)
BEIJING, June 29 (ChinaMil) -- China appreciates New Zealand’s stance of advocating solution of disputes through direct consultations and not taking sides on the South China Sea issue, a senior Chinese military official said on Tuesday.
Gen. Fang Fenghui, chief of the Joint Staff Department under China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), met with Secretary of Defense of New Zealand Helene Quilter in Beijing on the afternoon of June 28.
Fang made positive comments on the good momentum of development of the bilateral military relations in recent years evidenced by frequent high-level contacts, increasingly enhanced strategic mutual trust and constantly expanded pragmatic cooperation in various fields.
The Chinese People's Liberation Army is willing to strengthen the pragmatic cooperation with the New Zealand Defense Force in the aspects of joint exercises and training, exchange between military academies and anti-terrorism under the framework of the China-New Zealand comprehensive strategic partnership, Fang noted.
As for the South China Sea issue, Fang stressed that the current tensions in the South China Sea are not caused by China, and China attaches greater importance to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea than any other country in the world and opposes any actions resulting in tensions in the South China Sea. "China will neither accept nor participate in the so-called South China Sea arbitration unilaterally launched by the Philippines, and will neither recognize nor implement any verdict by the arbitration," Fang stated.
Quilter said that New Zealand is satisfied with the current development of the bilateral relations between the two countries. New Zealand is willing to strengthen exchange and cooperation with China in areas including UN peacekeeping, anti-terrorism, joint exercises and training and personnel training, Quilter added.
As the South China Sea is of vital importance to New Zealand, the country hopes parties concerned can strengthen dialogue and communication to properly deal with their disputes and discrepancies, Quilter said.