Chinese and Southeast Asian naval forces have staged their first computer-simulated drills so they can jointly respond to emergencies and build trust amid long-seething disputes in the South China Sea.
The two-day exercises that ended yesterday involved more than 40 sailors from China and ASEAN. They worked on search-and-rescue scenarios following a mock ship collision.
The Singaporean Navy hosted the drills at a training center at Changi Naval Base, where officers coordinated their force deployments and helicopter landings on navy ships.
They monitored developments on three giant screens, including one showing the location of a collision between an oil tanker, which supposedly caught fire, and a passenger ship that sank and scattered people in the high seas.
It was a successful prelude to actual maneuvers at sea that are planned for October in China, Singaporean Navy Colonel Lim Yu Chuan said.
“The exercise is beneficial to promote military exchanges and cooperation between China and ASEAN member states, [and] to advance our mutual trust,” Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy Captain Liang Zhijia told reporters.
Organizers did not directly link the exercises to the territorial disputes, which escalated after China turned seven disputed reefs into artificial islands.
Some now resemble bases with buildings and weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, and have sparked protests, including from rival claimants.
Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines also have claims to all or parts of the South China Sea.
During an annual meeting of their foreign ministers in Singapore on Thursday, an agreement was announced on an initial draft of a “code of conduct”: a set of rules to discourage aggression and reduce chances of accidental clashes and miscalculations.
Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) called the draft the “biggest highlight” of the meeting.
“We believe that without any disturbances from the outside, COC [code of conduct] consultations will accelerate,” Wang said.
China has accused the US of meddling in an Asian dispute. The US military has deployed its massive aircraft carriers, other warships and fighter jets to patrol the disputed waters, including areas close to China’s artificial islands, in maneuvers Washington has said aim to promote freedom of navigation and overflight in the strategic waterway.
Other Asian and Western nations have weighed in on the territorial conflicts, calling for the rule of law to be upheld and the disputes to be resolved peacefully, and not by force or intimidation.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini expressed hopes that negotiations would lead to a legally binding code of conduct that would uphold international laws and principles like freedom of navigation.
“We have, I would say, political interest in the international principles, norms and laws to be respected,” Mogherini said in a lecture on the sidelines of ASEAN meetings in Singapore. “Secondly, we have an economic interest, because as you know, European goods travel the seas, including around Asia.”
PAPERS, PLEASE: A digital certificate or a printout would return one of three results: green for ‘pass,’ red for ‘not passed’ or yellow for ‘to be determined,’ the CECC said Starting today, people can download a Digital COVID-19 Certificate, with the government now requiring people at night clubs, karaoke bars and other businesses in “eight major special establishment categories” to be fully vaccinated and present a vaccination certificate. The eight categories include dance venues, massage parlors, hostess bars and saunas. Customers and service personnel at the venues have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19, as they can neither avoid contact with people nor strictly observe distancing guidelines, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said. As such, both groups are required to be fully vaccinated, meaning that they must have had at least a
LAWMAKERS RALLY: Beijing’s unlegislated actions breach international and WTO trade rules, and affect the basic principles of the EU single market, the letter said A group of 41 EU lawmakers on Tuesday condemned China for its political and economic coercion of Lithuania, and called on leaders of the bloc to demonstrate solidarity with Vilnius. The letter was initiated by Slovakian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Miriam Lexmann, who is cochair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China. “We, the undersigned members of the European Parliament, resolutely condemn political and economic coercion of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) against Lithuania,” the letter said. The letter addressed European Council President Charles Michel, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and
ORDER OF 66 JETS: Delivering the F-16s faster and enabling Taiwan to develop its fleet into one of the biggest in Asia would be based on ‘risk assessment,’ one official said The US is looking for ways to accelerate delivery of Taiwan’s next generation of newly built F-16 jets, US officials said, bolstering the Taiwanese air force’s ability to respond to what Taipei and Washington see as increasing intimidation by the Chinese military. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that they have not yet come up with a solution on how to speed up delivery of Block 70 F-16s, manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp and equipped with new capabilities. The aircraft are slated to be delivered by the end of 2026. Taipei has privately expressed its wish for a faster delivery
‘GOOD FRIEND’: The Slovenian prime minister said he had visited Taiwan four or five times, and that Taiwanese should have the right to determine their future The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday welcomed Slovenia’s plan to establish a representative office in Taiwan, after Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa revealed the plan in an interview with Indian TV station Doordarshan on Monday. Taiwan is a democratic country that respects international democratic standards and international laws, the Slovenian prime minister said in the interview. Slovenia and Taiwan are working on “exchanging representatives,” he said. “Of course, this will not be on the level of embassies. It will be on the same level as many of the EU member countries.” “When I spoke with our businessmen who are trading with Taiwan, they