The first ever ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise (ACMEX) is to be held later this month. The Philippine Navy (PN) yesterday sent out their 200-strong envoy to sail from Sangley Point, Cavite City to Zhanjiang, China. The contingent is sailing on the BRP Dagupan City (LC-551), captained by Commander Sherwin E. Respeto.
“It is an ingenuous affirmation of its commitment in collaborating with other navies to promote peace and stability in the region. As with other naval engagements and exercises, these activities are expected to validate friendship, partnership and cooperative commitment that have been established and observed among ASEAN Member States, and the People’s Republic of China,” PN spokesperson Commander Jonathan Zata said in a statement late Wednesday.
ACMEX 2018 aims to promote multilateral cooperation and military exchanges between the navies of ASEAN member states and their Chinese counterpart. Its main thrust is humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR). Exercises will focus on maritime safety, search-and-rescue at sea with emphasis on the use of Code of Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES).
The Philippine contingent is scheduled to participate in the exercises from October 21-October 28.
“This will be the latest contingent sent by the PN following its successful participation in different multilateral naval exercises such as KOMODO Exercise in Mataram, Indonesia, RIMPAC Exercise in Hawaii, USA and KAKADU in Darwin, Australia to include the recent goodwill visits in Vladivostok, Russia and Jeju Island, Republic of Korea. The ACMEX 2018 aims to promote exchanges and cooperation between ASEAN Member States (AMS) navies and China PLA (N) focusing on maritime safety and search and rescue at sea with emphasis on the use of Code of Unplanned Encounter at Sea (CUES),” said Commander Zata.
The proposal for joint Chinese and ASEAN naval exercises was first submitted during the ASEAN Defense Minister Meeting in Singapore last February 2018. Following that, a series of informal discussions ensued, culminating in a table-top discussion between 40 naval officers from ASEAN countries and China. The table-top meeting was conducted from Aug. 2-3, with the agenda of developing the actual plans for exercises. Two Philippine Navy officers attended the table-top discussion, namely Capt. Hilario Casista and Commander Remuel Jerdinero. ACMEX was officially announced by the Singaporean Minister of Defense on August 3.
The PN has previously participated in multilateral naval exercises in Indonesia, Hawaii,and Australia, as well as goodwill visits in Russia and South Korea.