Inaugural ASEAN-China maritime drill kicks off in Zhanjiang, China

The first joint exercise between China and ASEAN member countries kicked off in Zhanjiang, in China’s Guandong province, on Monday, October 22.

The five-day exercise is co-organised by the Republic of Singapore Navy and the People’s Liberation Army Navy, and will be joined by participants from all nine other ASEAN countries and more than 1,000 personnel in the field training exercise.

Singapore has deployed Formidable-class frigate RSS Stalwart to the drill while China will be represented by a destroyer, frigate and a supply ship. Other ships will include a landing ship from the Philippines and frigates from Thailand and Vietnam.

The at-sea portion of the ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise follows a table-top exercise which was conducted early August at Changi Naval Base in Singapore.

Participating ships and personnel will practice dealing with maritime incidents, such as search and rescue operations and medical evacuation. The Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) was used in the plans for the approach of distressed vessels and helicopter cross-deck landings.

“We are glad to have this opportunity to exercise with the ASEAN navies. The TTX and FTX is a good platform to build confidence, cooperation and understanding between our navies. We all have common interest and we should work together,” CAPT Liang Zhijia, Deputy Chief of Operations, Naval Forces of People’s Liberation Army Southern Theater Command and exercise co-director said during the planning phase of the exercise. “Such practical cooperation will help build trust so that we can work together towards safer seas for all.”

Photo: Singapore defense ministry photo from the ASEAN-China Maritime table-top exercise