Chinese, ASEAN navies carry out first joint maritimebranded rubber wristbands exercise

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The opening ceremony of the ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise-2018 is held in Zhanjiang on Oct 22, 2018. [Photo/81.cn]

Chinese and ASEAN navies wrapped up drills at sea in their first joint maritime exercise on Friday.

The eight-ship fleet exercised in formation of single and double columns, and in communication in waters east of Zhanjiang in ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise-2018.

They also conducted joint search and rescue of "victims" from water, helicopter cross-deck landing and replenishment maneuvering.

Chinese and ASEAN navies exhibited excellent professional standard and conducted close coordination to achieve the goal as expected, said Peng Guliang, Chinese commander at the joint command at sea in the exercise.

The Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) was applied during the entire exercise, with the participating vessels communicating, coordinating and acting within the framework of the rule in high efficiency, enhancing the understanding and application of CUES by all parties, he said.

A joint command at sea was established, consisting of officers from multiple countries and jointly charged by commanders from China and Singapore. It fully embodied the boosted mutual trust among Chinese and ASEAN navies, Peng said.

Different ships took turns in commanding the six events of the exercise.

"Rotating the command of different serials is a common practice in all multilateral exercise. This is an opportunity when participating navies are taking charge of different serials and we can learn from each other," said Aaron Li Jun Hong, commanding officer of Stalwart of Singapore.

"I think all participating navies from ASEAN and China have exhibited high level of professionalism for this exercise. The PLA Navy has been a very good host to ASEAN navies and facilitated us well for the conduct of our exercise," he said.

Joint search-and-rescue exercise is deemed by all parties involved as important in plan meetings for the exercise because humanitarian rescue is important for vessels of all nationalities sailing in South China Sea, said Liang Zhijia, a Chinese Navy officer.

Eight ships, three helicopters, five observers and more than 1,200 personnel from China and all 10 ASEAN countries have been participating in the exchanges on shore and the exercise scheduled between October 22 and 28.

The exercise exhibited the will and determination of both China and ASEAN to safeguard the peace and stability in South China Sea through cooperation, and will help better attain the goal, said Zhang Junshe, a senior researcher at the PLA Navy Military Studies Research Institute.