Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe (L, Front) attends the 9th China-ASEAN Defense Ministers' Informal Meeting in Singapore, on Oct. 19, 2018. (Xinhua/Then Chih Wey)
SINGAPORE, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) pledged on Friday to promote defense cooperation between the two sides.
The pledge was made at the 9th China-ASEAN Defense Ministers' Informal Meeting, which was co-chaired by Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe and Ng Eng Hen, the Defense Minister of Singapore which takes ASEAN's rotating chair this year.
Wei said China and ASEAN are close neighbors linked by mountains and waters, and ASEAN enjoys the priority of China's neighborhood diplomacy.
China supports the construction of an open and inclusive regional security framework with ASEAN at the core so as to build a closer China-ASEAN community with shared future, Wei noted.
Pointing out that China-ASEAN relations are standing at a new historical point, he said China hopes to continue to strengthen communication with the defense departments of ASEAN countries.
Wei called on the two sides to work for the setting up of direct telephone lines between defense authorities, to hold joint drills and exercises, and conduct cooperation in disaster-relief and emergency-rescue as well as exchanges between defense think-tanks and military officials so as to make new contributions to safeguarding regional peace and stability.
ASEAN defense leaders spoke highly of the development of the China-ASEAN ties, and they expressed support for China's suggestions for promoting China-ASEAN defense ties.
They also expressed their willingness to continue to work with China to move forward practical cooperation between the two sides in defense and security areas, enhance mutual understanding and trust and jointly maintain regional development and prosperity.