China announced its plans to conduct joint military drills with Singapore.
China’s Defence Ministry stated that the drills with the Singapore Naval forces would involve search and rescue operations.
The exercise is “a consensus reached by the two navies, aimed at enhancing mutual trust, deepening friendship, promoting cooperation, and jointly promoting the construction of a maritime community with a shared future,” Chinese naval spokesperson Gao Xiucheng said in the announcement.
“Even if China is keen to engage in more intense defence diplomacy, the Southeast Asian partners have to be similarly willing and enthused about it. Much of the governments’ attention has been on pandemic control – for which their militaries are also quite heavily involved in routine day-to-day operations, especially border security – which has consequently reduced their bandwidth to engage in as much defence diplomacy as they would have desired,”
Collin Koh, maritime security analyst for Singapore S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies said in a statement as quoted by the SCMP.
With information from South China Agency & Sputnik Asia