Tuesday, June 18, 2013

ASEAN+8 hold military exercise in Brunei

A huge humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise involving 18 Asia-Pacific countries kicked off Monday in a bid to achieving interoperability among the defense forces of a region strained by territorial disputes.

The four-day ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Military Medicine Exercise is being held for the first time under the platform of the meeting of ASEAN defense ministers plus their eight dialogue partner countries so as to elevate the meeting from just a dialogue to practical cooperation.

The countries involved are the 10 ASEAN member states, and eight dialogue partner countries, namely, China, Japan, South Korea, the United States, India, Russia, Australia and New Zealand.

More than 1,200 military personnel are involved in the exercise, which is mainly being held in the Borneo jungle, while many pieces of equipment have been brought in for the exercise.

Japan has deployed two C-130 transport aircraft and a Shirane-class helicopter destroyer.

The United States has sent the USNS Matthew Perry dry cargo ship and two Puma aircraft, while China has sent a huge hospital ship, Peace Ark, equipped with 300 beds and eight operating rooms.

"This exercise will lay the foundation to what militaries can do together in a constructive and meaningful manner to enhance the peace and security of the region," Maj. Gen. Aminuddin Ihsan Abidin, commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, said in a speech at the opening ceremony of the exercise.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.-ABS-CBN News

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