The ASEAN plus three (China, Japan, the Republic of Korea), also known as the "10+3", workshop on disaster relief by armed forces concluded on Thursday afternoon, as participants reached a basic consensus to step up cooperation.
The military officers at the three-day workshop agreed that the 13 countries' armed forces should work hand-in-hand to face the challenges of massive natural disasters, and they urged the early establishment of a coordinating mechanism within the 10+3 framework, according to Cui Yafeng, who chaired the workshop.
Cui, deputy head of the Field Army Commanding Academy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province, said the workshop made positive achievements, gathering many constructive ideas about establishing coordinating mechanisms and making relevant laws regarding 10+3 joint disaster relief.
He said the officers agreed that the achievements of the workshop should be submitted to decision-making departments in each country and its armed forces.
Held as China and Myanmar were coping with the aftermath of a massive quake and a cyclone disaster, respectively, the workshop had prompted the 10+3 nations to speed up the pace of enhanced disaster relief cooperation.
The workshop will be held here again next year at the PLA Academy and possibly upgraded to a forum covering more non-traditional security issues, said Cui.
The officers focused on the discussion of practical disaster relief cooperation among the 10+3 nations, such as coordinating mechanisms and standard operating procedures.
They also watched a field drill Wednesday by the PLA's Bethune Military Medical College in Shijiazhuang, a 70-year-old college established by Norman Bethune. The devoted Canadian doctor worked in China during the Second World War
The college also joined in the disaster relief in Sichuan Province.
(Xinhua News Agency June 13, 2008)