Friday, December 24, 2010

China ready to hold military exercises with Philippines

After equipping the Philippines to fight against their Maoist (yes, I had to stop to think about this too) rebels, the Sino-Philippine military relationship is ready to take their next step. (here)

Looking back at recent Sino-ASEAN military exchanges, ranging from a joint marine military drill (here) in Thailand, to a joint patrol with the Vietnamese Navy (here), frequent exchanges with the Singapore navy and  weapon sales to Indonesia, it seems that military leaders in ASEAN might be anxious about the "assertiveness" of China, but to give them credit, they are finding ways to understand each other under a variety of exchanges.

For some hardliners, venting in OpEds might offer quick relief, but it rarely drives foreign policies or improves relations.  Then again, writing OpEds are easy, whereas managing foreign relations is somewhat more complicated.

China ready to hold military exercises with PH
By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer First Posted 13:02:00 12/23/2010 Filed Under: Foreign affairs & international relations, Diplomacy, Military, Illegal drugs

China ready to hold military exercises with PH -, Philippine News for Filipinos

MANILA, Philippines—China is open to having full-scale joint military exercises with the Philippines, and does not view the country's close ties to the United States as an impediment to closer Sino-Philippine cooperation.

"Both sides are very much inspired and encouraged in having even greater cooperation between the two militaries," said Chinese Ambassador to Manila Liu Jianchao.

At a roundtable meeting with the press at his residence in DasmariƱas Village in Makati on Wednesday, the ambassador said joint military exercises between the two countries could be conducted "even now" against drug and human trafficking.

Joint military exercises against terrorism were also possible.

"Why not? I mean when the confidence and trust are boosted, and we have a better understanding, confidence, and trust, we can do better, Liu said.

"Even now, we can do joint military exercises in the area of, for example, in maritime security, maritime rescue, possible exercises against drug trafficking, human trafficking, and again, possibly, terrorism."

Liu said the Philippines' strong alliance with the United States should not impede it from fostering greater military cooperation with other allies, like China, whose military influence in the region is growing.

"I don't see any reason for that. The Philippines is an independent country, and I think that the Philippine people and the Philippine government... have a right to have sustained and strategic cooperative relations with China," he said.

He said military exchange and cooperation was part of "good, neighborly, and strategic relations between China and the Philippines."

But at the same time, he said, "China is happy to see the developments and improvements of relations between the Philippines and the United States. And it hopes that such relationship will benefit the regional peace and stability."

The envoy said proof of the growing military cooperation between China and the Philippines was the recent logistics agreement the two countries signed during a recent visit of Armed Forces Chief of Staff Ricardo David to China.

"We provided 24 million yuan (about P150 million) worth of engineering equipment to the (Philippine) military, mostly for construction, like diggers, pressers, trucks," Liu said.

The ambassador acknowledged that his country was expanding its military presence throughout the region, and the Philippines and other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations were a part of this.

"Together with our economic development, we have been able to strengthen our military capabilities for the purpose of a better and effective defense of the land and of the sovereignty of China," he said.

"We'd like to have more dialogues and cooperation with our neighboring countries, including the Asean countries, in making sure that this region is a region of peace and stability and free from conflict," Liu said.

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