PANO – The second ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus took place in Banda Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, on August 29th with the participation of delegates from 10 ASEAN members and eight ASEAN partners of the US, China, Russia, Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
In his opening remarks, Brunei Minister of Energy, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Dato Seri Paduka Haji Mohammad Yasmin, chairman of the meeting, stressed that the ADMM Plus is a historic milestone in the regional security structure. Through five ADMM Plus’ experts working groups, many practical cooperation activities within the ADMM Plus framework have been implemented. These activities help boost the confidence among ASEAN members themselves, and between ASEAN members and their partners.
At the meeting, ASEAN Deputy Secretary Nyan Lynn briefed the delegates about the recent developments in ASEAN and within the ADMM Plus. According to the briefing, activities to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula have been implemented through diplomatic measures. About East Sea issues, the ASEAN Deputy Secretary’s report highly appreciated the dispute settlement through dialogues, implementation of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the move toward the COC. The report also mentioned the developments within the ADMM Plus, especially the success of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief/ Military Medicine Exercise in Brunei in June 2013.
Addressing the meeting, Vietnamese Minister of National Defence, General Phung Quang Thanh, said that the Asia – Pacific still maintains peace and stability to focus resources on development to improve living standards.
However, the Vietnamese minister held that the region still witnesses differences in interests among countries, disputes at sea and on land, and non-traditional challenges such as drug-trafficking and cyber security.
About the East Sea disputes, Minister Phung Quang Thanh held that the countries should settle them through peaceful measures and dialogues, based on international laws, especially the United Nations Law of the Sea 1982 and the declaration on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Sino – ASEAN relations, soon establishing the COC and ensuring maritime security and safety.
He stressed that countries should promote their cooperation within the ADMM Plus framework, with ASEAN’s centrality, like in the ADMM Plus HADR/MM in June in Brunei.
|* Vietnam attends regional defence ministers’ meeting|
According to the Vietnamese minister, Vietnam proposes to increase naval cooperation in the region through joint patrols, exchanges and hotlines among the navies and defence leaders. Moreover, Vietnam is willing to sign an agreement on not using force or threatening to use force.
The general asked regional countries to increase rescue activities at sea and participate in counter-piracy efforts. He reiterated that Vietnam is willing to receive ships from ADMM Plus members to visit the country; Vietnam welcomes other countries that support its initiative to set up the humanitarian mine action programme; and asked other countries, especially the US, to actively assist it in dealing with post-war unexploded ordnance.
Vietnam is preparing to join UN Peacekeeping Operations, therefore, the Vietnamese general expected that other countries will share their experiences and materially support Vietnam in this field.
At the meeting, many ministers showed their support for Vietnam’s initiative on humanitarian mine action. Especially, Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan said that China would organize a workshop on humanitarian mine action next year. Meanwhile, India and Vietnam will co-host a meeting to implement this initiative within the ADMM Plus framework next year.
Translated by Ngoc Hung