Wei Fenghe (L) shakes hands with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Bangkok(CGTN)

Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe vowed to enhance cooperation and maintain all level defense exchanges and joint naval drills between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Sunday.

The pledge was made at the 10th China-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting, which was co-chaired by Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.

China and the ASEAN held two joint naval drills, the first-ever think-tank exchanges and exchanges between middle-aged and young military officers. Wei spoke highly of the implementation of the consensus reached by the two sides in the past year, saying the two sides have cultivated friendship and close relations.

Noting the two sides have steadily pushed forward the defense and security cooperation, Wei wished the close exchanges would continue to deepen so that the two sides can enhance mutual trust and achieve win-win cooperation.

As development of both sides enter a new era, Wei emphasized that China will continue to support the ASEAN community construction and support ASEAN’s central role in regional cooperation.

He called on the two sides to extend defense exchanges at all levels and enhance cooperation in areas such as expertise training, disaster relief and counter-terrorism, so as to jointly safeguard regional stability and security and contribute to building a community with a shared future for China and the ASEAN.

Leaders of ASEAN’s defense ministries appreciated China’s great efforts in enhancing the China-ASEAN defense and security cooperation, pledging that ASEAN will support the China-proposed initiatives and is ready to strengthen communication and practical cooperation with China.

Wei also met with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha during his stay in Thailand. The two sides agreed to enhance high-level exchanges and cooperation in trade and economic fields.

Wei applauded the sound momentum of the bilateral ties, and thanked Thailand for supporting China on matters of core concern. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is ready to work with Thailand to safeguard regional safety and stability, Wei added.

Prayut reiterated Thailand’s commitment to the “one-China policy,” adding that the country is ready to jointly promote the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with China.

Noting that 2020 marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-Thailand diplomatic ties, the prime minister hopes to push forward the bilateral relations to a higher level. (CGTN)

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