Beijing vows closer defence cooperation with Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand ahead of court ruling that could drive wedge into Asean bloc
China has vowed to beef up military cooperation with several Southeast Asian nations after the US announced it was lifting a decades-old ban on the sale of lethal military equipment to Vietnam.
The pledges of a deeper partnership with Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand also came amid escalating regional tensions over territorial claims in the South China Sea and ahead of an international court ruling that could potentially drive a wedge among Asean members.
Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission Xu Qiliang wrote a piece in People’s Daily (Chinese) clarifying how the military would enact reforms in the wake of the Third Plenum. The fundamental goal is to increase the efficiency and battle-readiness of the military. According to Xu, there is still a large gap between China’s military and the world’s leading military (presumably a reference to the United States). Major goals of the reforms include fully bringing China’s military into the information age, revamping the command system for joint combat, and reforming the leadership structure. Continue reading