A senior Chinese military officer said in Beijing Thursday that Southeast Asian countries and their neighbors should enhance cooperation in disaster relief efforts and improve its efficiency.
General Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army, made the appeal during the first experts' working-group meeting on humanitarian rescue and disaster relief under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus, according to a press release provided by the military.
The countries should improve their professional competence in dealing with natural disasters independently, and strengthen practical cooperation on a mutual respect, equal, non-interference basis, Ma said.
The countries should adhere to the principle of respecting other countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity and not interfering in other countries' internal affairs, Ma said.
The general stressed that cooperation among relevant counties should not be imposed with any additional political conditions, nor harm the security interests of countries concerned.
Ma also called on relevant countries to keep an open attitude, enhance mutual trust and learn from each other.
The meeting held on Thursday attracted more than 50 disaster relief officials from the armed forces and defense ministries of ASEAN member countries and the 10+8 (Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, the Republic of Korea and the United States), as well as officials from the ASEAN Secretariat, according to the release.
China and Vietnam co-chaired the experts' working-group.