China to join naval exercises off Indonesia

CHINESE ships left the port of Qingdao on Saturday to take part in naval exercises off the coast of Indonesia, China’s Ministry of Defence said, a week after a dispute between the two countries over contested waters in the South China Sea.

The second biennial Multilateral Naval Exercise Komodo (MNEK) exercise, run by the Indonesian navy, will begin on April 12. The theme for the exercises is “readiness and cooperation for peace,” and they will be conducted in Padang, Indonesia, and its nearby islands. Around 50 vessels from China, the United States, Russia, France, Australia and 16 other countries will participate.

“Under President Joko Widodo’s administration, Indonesia has just launched a new maritime strategy based on five fundamental pillars, namely maritime culture, maritime economy, maritime infrastructure, maritime security and maritime diplomacy,” said Admiral Ade Supandi, Chief of the Indonesian Navy. “MNEK 2016 is part of the implementation of the fourth and fifth pillars and it is one of the efforts of the Indonesian Navy to realize Indonesia to become a global maritime axis.”

Last week, Indonesia attempted to detain a Chinese trawler it accused of fishing in its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, prompting the Chinese coastguard to intervene.

Tensions have been rising in the South China Sea as China continues to reclaim land and stake claims over vast swathes of an important shipping corridor. Several Southeast Asian countries have overlapping claims in the area, including Vietnam.

The ministry said in a separate notice that Defence Minister Chang Wanquan was due to visit Vietnam on Saturday to participate in high-level talks.
Source : MAREX
Reprinted from issue 089 of DAILY COLLECTION OF MARITIME PRESS CLIPPINGS 2016 published by http://www.maasmondmaritime.com/en/ on 2016-03-29

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