China and SE Asian states to hold naval exercises
Four ASEAN states - Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam - have rival claims with Beijing over territory in the flashpoint South China Sea.
The "table-top" exercises at a Singapore naval base came ahead of the first naval drills between the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Beijing, scheduled for October.
China claims almost the entire sea and has been constructing artificial islands capable of hosting military bases in the waters, ratcheting up tensions with rival claimants and the US, the traditionally dominant naval power in the area.
The simulated drill was held yesterday and today, Singapore's defense ministry said in a statement.
It was timed to coincide with a series of ASEAN-led meetings in the city-state this week, including a security forum on Saturday at which US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be seeking to reassure Asian allies of continued American commitment to the region.
Chinese and ASEAN navies developed plans for the October field drills, including how to deal with maritime incidents like search and rescue and medical evacuation, Singapore's defense ministry said in a statement.
It also involved plans on approaching a distressed vessel, the statement said.
"This table-top exercise has been a good first step for navies from ASEAN countries and China to work together to deal with maritime incidents at sea," said Colonel Lim Yu Chuan, a senior Singapore naval officer, and exercise co-director.
Captain Liang Zhijia of the Chinese navy said the simulated and field drills are good platforms to build trust and confidence.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)