A five-point proposal for boosting defense and enhancing security cooperation between China and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was put forward by State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Chang Wanquan on October 16.
Chang was chairing an informal meeting of China-ASEAN defense ministers in Beijing which was attended by 10 ASEAN members as well as the deputy director general of ASEAN.
The meeting, the first of its kind being hosted by China, was one of the concrete measures in response to initiatives proposed by Chinese leaders on various visits to ASEAN countries.
— The direction of cooperation should uphold joint efforts, the China-ASEAN leaders’ consensus should be firmly implemented, the China-ASEAN strategic partnership should be consistently deepened, and the countries should shape a China-ASEAN Community of Shared Destiny with greater closeness.
— Countries should jointly champion the security and stability of the region, the Asian Security Outlook — featuring joint efforts, comprehensiveness, cooperation and sustainability — should be honored, dialogue and cooperation should be pressed ahead with consistency, and countries should jointly secure regional peace and stability and join hands in creating an enabling security environment.
— China and ASEAN countries should jointly promote the building of security mechanisms, the China-ASEAN defense ministers’ informal meeting should be continued and both parties should boost coordination and cooperation with multilateral mechanisms including ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus and the ASEAN Regional Forum. The building of a regional security cooperation framework should be boosted with openness, inclusiveness, transparency and equality.
— The countries should jointly deepen pragmatic cooperation in defense, strengthen collaboration in aspects such as humanitarian operations, military medical science, peacekeeping, anti-terrorism, anti-pirate and border defense, and constantly cement the security basis of the China-ASEAN Community of Shared Destiny.
— Disputes should be properly tackled and risks should be managed and controlled, and in order to address common risks and challenges, China is willing to hold a joint drill regarding the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea and another joint drill regarding maritime search and rescue and disaster relief.
Defense leaders attending the meeting spoke positively about Chang’s proposal.
Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said currently all the countries in the region are faced with common challenges such as terrorism, disasters and accidents, while ASEAN and China have conducted proactive pragmatic cooperation in security to jointly champion regional security and stability.
Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said Singapore attaches great importance to the idea of building a Community of Shared Destiny, elaborated by Chinese President Xi Jinping in a September speech at the United Nations.
Singapore welcomes and supports a greater closeness within the China-ASEAN Community of Shared Destiny, and the country is willing to play an active role within ASEAN to boost the defense cooperation between ASEAN and China, he added.
The delegations with the ASEAN countries will also attend relevant events of the Sixth Xiangshan Forum in Beijing.