The 6th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting opened in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Tuesday with all ten ASEAN member states defence ministers in attendance. The theme of the meeting was military co-operation between ASEAN countries, especially during natural disasters.
During the meeting, the defence ministers noted the success of the first ASEAN humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise conducted in Indonesia and Singapore in 2011. The second such exercise has been planned to be conducted in Brunei in 2013, and will be co-ordinated by both Brunei and Singapore.
The ASEAN defence ministers also signed a Joint Declaration reaffirming their shared commitment to enhancing regional peace and security, and for the realisation of an ASEAN Community, including the ASEAN Political-Security Community by 2015.
More importantly, the ministers also discussed the recent dispute between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea. Additionally, meeting on the sidelines of the summit, Philippines Defence Minister, Voltaire Gazmin, and his Chinese counterpart, Liang Guanglie, both agreed to show restraint over the issue and to resolve it peacefully.
At the meeting, the ASEAN defence ministers also adopted a concept paper reviewing the frequency of ADMM-Plus Meetings. The interval between these meetings will be shortened from once every three years to once every two. The ADMM-Plus Meetings involve ASEAN defence ministers and their counterparts from ASEAN Dialogue Partners such as Australia, China, India and the US. The ADMM-Plus has five core co-operation areas: disaster relief, counter-terrorism, maritime security, peacekeeping, and military medicine. The second ADMM-Plus meeting has been slated to take place in 2013.
Report: ASEAN defence ministers sign joint declaration [Channel NewsAsia, 29 May 2012]
Report: Dr Ng Eng Hen Attends 6th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Phnom Penh[MINDEF Singapore, 29 May 2012]
Report: ‘Restraint’ watchword at ASEAN meet [The Phnom Penh Post, 30 May 2012]
Report: Philippines, China ‘to show restraint’ over shoal [Bangkok Post, 29 May 2012]
Report: ADMM Plus Championing Peace, Stability and Understanding [ASEAN Secretariat, 11 October 2010]
Press Release: Joint Declaration by 6th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting [MINDEF Singapore, 29 May 2012]