ASEAN Defence Cooperation Enters Higher Gear

Friday, 20 May 2011 10:12

Jakarta, 20 May 2011

The 5th ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) has endorsed two new initiatives - the establishment of the ASEAN Peacekeeping Centres Network, and the ASEAN Defence Industry Collaboration.

The ASEAN Peacekeeping Centres Network will facilitate cooperation in peacekeeping among the ASEAN Member States through planning, training and exchange of experience. The ASEAN Defence Industry Collaboration, meanwhile, will provide opportunities to promote intra-ASEAN trade on defence products and services on the principles of flexibility, voluntary, and non-binding participation.

Setting the path for future ASEAN defence cooperation, the Defence Ministers adopted the new ADMM Three-Year Work Programme 2011-2013. The Work Programme will guide the ADMM in implementing practical cooperation on issues such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and peacekeeping operations. Capacity-building, training and other practical interactions among the militaries of the ASEAN Member States will be the key deliverables of the Work Programme.

Five years after it was conceived in 2006, the ASEAN Defence Ministers have now reached a certain level of trust among each other to openly discuss sensitive issues of common concerns. At the Meeting, ASEAN Defence Ministers and their representatives were in unison in calling for a peaceful resolution on the Cambodia and Thailand border dispute issue. The role of Indonesia as the current ASEAN Chair was also acknowledged in bringing both countries to meet on 18 May, at the sidelines of the Meeting.

The South China Sea territorial disputes continued to receive special attention among the Defence Ministers.

In the context of the tenth anniversary of the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, the ASEAN Defence Ministers reiterated their support for ASEAN's efforts towards the adoption of a regional Code of Conduct in the South China Sea that would further promote peace and stability in the area. The Defence Ministers also appealed to all parties to exercise self-restraint to avoid unnecessary escalation of tensions.

The Meeting concluded with the signing of the Joint Declaration of the ASEAN Defence Ministers on Strengthening Defence Cooperation of ASEAN in the Global Community to Face New Challenges.

The Indonesian Defence Minister, PurnomoYusgiantoro chaired the Meeting. Attending the meeting were the Defence Ministers of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam. Brunei Darussalam was represented by the Minister of Energy while representing Singapore was the Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence.

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