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Naval delegates gather in Qingdao to discuss Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea

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Naval delegates gather in Qingdao to discuss Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea

2024-04-22 22:30 Last Updated At:04-23 06:07

Representatives of navies from across the globe are holding discussions on the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), a key agenda at the ongoing 19th Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), which is underway in China's eastern port city of Qingdao in Shandong Province.

The 19th biennial meeting opened on Sunday and is themed "Seas of Shared Future." The four-day event has over 180 navy representatives from 29 countries, including Australia, Cambodia, Chile, France, and India.

Delegates to the meeting will review activities taking place under the symposium's framework since its 18th biennial meeting. They will set the future agenda, discuss, and vote on issues such as the WPNS Business Charter, the CUES, and the unmanned system.

The CUES was signed by 21 nations back in 2014 during the 14th Western Pacific Naval Symposium. As a non-legally binding document, it constitutes a set of ground rules on how to de-escalate an unplanned encounter between naval vessels of different nations.

CUES remains a focal point of this year's symposium, where the participants will deliberate and vote for the adoption of the version 3.0 of the code.

"Items on the subject matters of CUES are very relevant and very important. I think it's important that in the WPNS these important issues are discussed. Sometimes, things take a little time. Having said that, I think we should be optimistic," said Mohammad Nazmul Hassan, chief of naval staff at Bangladesh Navy.

"Generally, there is a consensus that there should be a code of conduct for all the nations, so that movement on seas can be controlled in an effective manner," said Ashar Niazi, naval attache of Pakistan in China.

"So, with all things as technology evolves, as we start to see things like [tech] systems, as we go through the application of it, we realize that there is always things that can be improved to make sure that the language is clear, to make sure that the application continues to meet the intent," said Angus Topshee, commander in the Royal Canadian Navy.

During the opening of the symposium, China -- the host country -- said that since oceans connect the whole world, any action and discussion concerning them such as CUES should be done with peace and mutual benefits in mind.

"Being enthusiastic about forming cliques, especially on conducting encirclement maneuvers and the blockade of island chains in the sea, will only plunge the world into turmoil. We always believe that mutual respect, peaceful co-existence and win-win cooperation are the right paths for the world," said Zhang Youxia, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission.

Naval delegates gather in Qingdao to discuss Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea

Naval delegates gather in Qingdao to discuss Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea

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PLA drills demonstrate resolve to defend territorial integrity: military experts

2024-05-24 22:51 Last Updated At:23:07

The joint military drills surrounding Taiwan Island conducted by Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) is unprecedented in adopting a new mode to send a clear warning to the separatist forces pursuing "Taiwan independence", demonstrating the resolve to defend China's territorial integrity, according to Chinese military experts.

The Eastern Theater Command of the PLA on Friday continued joint drills surrounding the Taiwan Island.

Integrated operations inside and outside the island chain have been conducted to test the command's capabilities to jointly take control of battlefield and launch joint strikes, and to seize control of crucial areas, according to a spokesperson for the theater command.

The spokesperson said the drills serve as a strong punishment for the separatist acts of "Taiwan independence" forces and a stern warning against the interference and provocation by external forces.

Major General Meng Xiangqing, a professor at the National Defense University of the PLA, said from the PLA's close-in move, the military drills are unprecedented, just a step away from the coastline of the island of Taiwan.

Meng said that the PLA's drills focused on practicing a new mode of blockading the Taiwan Island.

"Taiwan is an isolated island in the sea. Its economy is export-oriented. A blockade of the island can easily lead to its economic collapse, turning it into a dead island. The PLA's joint drills this time is forming strong firing points by connecting all those key targets to the north, south and east of the island, just as we see in the map. The only thing required to form a firing line is a 'rope' or 'chain', and this 'chain' can put the 'Taiwan independence' forces in a chokehold. In other words, the more attempts and provocations the separatist forces in Taiwan make, the tighter the 'rope' will be," said Meng.

Zhang Chi, a mainland military expert, also noted that the drills to the north of the island deter important political and military targets, and the drills to the south of the island targeting Taiwan's important base for the island's naval force are crucial for the blockade. Meanwhile, drills to the east of Taiwan are designed to practice cutting off the island's energy imports, the escape routes of the "Taiwan independence" forces and the support line from the external forces, he said.

The PLA Eastern Theater Command started joint military drills surrounding Taiwan from 07:45 Thursday.

Military services including the army, navy, air force and rocket force of the theater command have been organized to conduct the joint drills, code-named Joint Sword-2024A, according to the spokesperson for the theater command.

The drills focus on joint sea-air combat-readiness patrol, joint seizure of comprehensive battlefield control, and joint precision strikes on key targets.

Since the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities came to power in 2016, the PLA has conducted multiple drills around the island to deter secessionists. Some experts from the island pointed out that the mainland's military deterrence will continue to proceed following every rampant provocation by the DPP authorities.

In August 2022, the DPP authorities colluded with then U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi for her visiting Taiwan. The PLA's following military drills in waters off the Taiwan Island were reported as crossing the so-called "median line of the Taiwan Strait". Meng's remarks that there is no such thing as a "median line in the Strait" became a hot topic of Taiwan's media.

In April 2023, in response to Tsai Ing-wen's "transit" trip to the United States, the PLA conducted military drills and sent aircraft carrier Shandong. The island's public attention was highly focused on the Shandong's appearance off Taiwan's east coast. Experts on the island held the view that the Shandong's sailing through the waters near Miyako Island and crossing the "First Island Chain" indicated that the so called "rear area" that the DPP had always boasted no longer exists.

The joint military drills this time are meant to deter Taiwan separatist forces pursuing "Taiwan independence", and counter the "two-states" fallacy made by Taiwan region new leader Lai Ching-te during his inauguration speech on Monday.

When the joint military drills conducted this time, a coast guard fleet of east China's Fujian Province on Thursday also conducted a law-enforcement drill in the waters near Wuqiu and Dongyin islands. According to the released map, the fleet formation was only 2.8 nautical miles away from Wuqiu Island and only 3.1 nautical miles away from Dongyin Island, sailing into the so-called "forbidden and restricted waters" set by the DPP authorities.

Liu Kuangyu, an associate research fellow at the Institute of Taiwan Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, noted that the PLA's drill mode adopted after Pelosi's Taiwan visit is still improving and gets strengthened, and the drills of this mode aimed at surrounding and blockading the island will become a new normal.

PLA drills demonstrate resolve to defend territorial integrity: military experts

PLA drills demonstrate resolve to defend territorial integrity: military experts

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