The ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) has continued to grow as a robust and active mechanism that contributes to regional peace and stability as the region heads to ASEAN Community 2015.
Since its establishment in 2006, the ADMM has provided a platform for continuous strategic dialogue, consultation, and practical cooperation, said Secretary-General of ASEAN Le Luong Minh yesterday. “This is one channel how the defence sector is contributing to the community building efforts of ASEAN,” said SG Minh at the 7th ADMM that was held in Brunei Darussalam on 7 May 2013.
In the efforts to further strengthen regional defence cooperation, the Ministers endorsed two new ADMM initiatives - Establishing ASEAN Defence Interaction Programmes (ADIP) and the Establishment of Logistics Support Framework. The ADIP will strengthen regional unity and identity among ASEAN defence establishment through various interaction activities while the Logistics Support Framework will enhance ASEAN’s capacity and develop capabilities to contribute to operational effectiveness in addressing non-traditional security challenges.
To enhance their cooperation with eight of ASEAN Dialogue Partners in the ADMM-Plus, the Defence Ministers, also adopted, among others, a Concept Papers on Establishment of Experts’ Working Group (EWG) on Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA). This new EWG adds to the existing five EWGs on Maritime Security, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, Peacekeeping Operations, Military Medicine, and Counter Terrorism under the ADMM-Pus framework. The 2nd ADMM – Plus is scheduled for 29 August 2013 in Brunei Darussalam.
The Ministers also discussed how the defence sector can help address emerging non-traditional security challenges in the region such as cyber security, trans-border crimes, and communicable diseases. On the South China Sea issue, the Ministers supported the Leaders commitment at the 22nd Summit for ASEAN to work actively with China towards the early conclusion of a code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC) to promote peace and stability.
The ASEAN Defence Ministers also had an informal meeting with the Minister for National Defence of China, General Chang Wanquan on the sidelines of the 7th ADMM. General Chang reiterated China’s commitment to advance defence and military cooperation between ASEAN and China through activities such as the conduct of military education, training and joint exercise on the basis of the principles of mutual trust, benefit and accommodation. Previously, the ASEAN Defence Ministers had met with the Minister for National Defence of China at the sidelines of the 5th and 6th ADMM in Indonesia and Cambodia respectively.
Prior to the series of meetings, SG Minh also had a bilateral meeting with the Minister of Energy of Brunei Darussalam and Chairman of the 7th ADMM, H.E. Pehin Datu Singamanteri Colonel (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin Haji Umar. Both SG Minh and Pehin Datu exchanged views on the outcomes of the recently convened 22nd ASEAN Summit in Brunei Darussalam.