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ASEAN+3 Workshop on Disaster Relief by Armed Forces Held in N China
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Military officials from China, Japan, South Korea and member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met in Shijiazhuang, capital of north China's Hebei Province, Monday for a five-day workshop on disaster relief by armed forces.


The workshop will focus on the role and methods of armed forces in international disaster relief work, according to the Chinese Defense Ministry.


The workshop, the first of its kind, was proposed by Premier Wen Jiabao at the 10th ASEAN plus three (10+3) summit in Cebu, a resort Philippine city, in January this year.


Zhang Bangdong, director of the foreign affairs office of the Defense Ministry, said at the opening ceremony that severe natural disasters are a common threat for humans everywhere and it is in the interests of people from all countries in the region to strengthen international disaster relief cooperation. It benefits regional prosperity and stability.


He noted that armed forces are a major contributor to disaster relief in all countries of the region, adding he hoped the exchanges at the workshop would further enhance understanding and trust among armed forces of different countries and deepen cooperation in non-traditional security fields.


The workshop will also include such topics as the construction of armed forces-local government coordination mechanisms, basic principles and command methods in disaster relief and international disaster relief experiences.


All together 28 officials from member countries of ASEAN, China, Japan, South Korea and the ASEAN secretariat attended the workshop.


(Xinhua News Agency June 5, 2007)

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