By Song Zixun and Yang Yue
On the evening of April 25, the opening ceremony of the China-Southeast Asian countries “Joint Maritime Drill 2019” was held in Qingdao, eastern China’s Shandong Province. Vice Admiral Shen Jinlong, Commander of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, attended the ceremony and delivered a speech.
In his speech, Shen stated that the joint maritime drill between China and Southeast Asian states embodied China’s commitment to pursuing the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness in diplomacy with neighboring countries and actively developing relations with Southeast Asian countries.
Shen also pointed out that the drill was a concrete practice of promoting the important initiative of “building a maritime community with a shared future” and an important action by both sides to deepen defense and security cooperation and enhance mutual understanding and trust. He added that the joint exercise would definitely enhance the level of pragmatic cooperation between the Chinese PLA Navy and navies of Southeast Asian countries, and strengthen their capacity to jointly cope with maritime threats and challenges.
Shen said he hoped that participating officers and soldiers would communicate with and learn from each other as much as possible, making contributions to the complete success of the joint drill.
Seven countries participated in the joint drill, including China, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. Indonesia and Laos also sent observers to watch this maritime drill that consists of eight subjects, including fleet formation, temporary inspection, visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations, joint search and rescue, and medical treatment of the wounded personnel.
The chiefs of delegations from relevant Southeast Asian states invited to the multinational naval events marking the Chinese PLA Navy’s 70th founding anniversary also showed up at the opening ceremony of the joint maritime drill.