ASEAN defence ministers sign joint declaration to combat terrorism

27 May 2016 / 13:57 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: All 10 ASEAN defence ministers on Wednesday signed a Joint Declaration on Promoting Defence Cooperation for a Dynamic ASEAN Community, collectively agreeing to combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations in this region.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein (pix) said this included thorough cooperation in areas such as sharing of information and intelligence; conducting coordinated operations where feasible; and, enhancing confidence and capability-building initiatives.
He said 'lone wolf' events, just like the most recent attack in Jakarta were serious, disturbing and should not be taken lighly.
Last year, the 10 ASEAN defence ministers signed a joint declaration denouncing terrorism and extremist organisations at the 9th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) in Langkawi.
"This united stance demonstrates the gravity and urgency of this problem," he said in a statement here today.
Hishammuddin who attended the 10th ADMM in Vientiane, Laos on Wednesday said he had stated the need for ASEAN countries to step up efforts as terrorism and extremist organisations threatened to violate and destroy the region's decades of peace and stability.
Hishammuddin also reminded ASEAN countries not to lose sight that terrorism transcended culture, race and religion, the very threads that held the delicate fabric of the ASEAN society.
"With regard to the security of the Sulu Sea, Indonesia's Minister of Defence, General (Rtd) Ryamizard Ryacudu, Philippine Secretary of National Defence, Voltaire T. Gazmin and I, also had a separate discussion to further consolidate our countries's efforts in this regard and establish an action plan for the way forward," he said.
Following the 10th ADMM, Hishammuddin also attended the China-ASEAN Defence Ministers' Informal Meeting which was chaired by China's Defence Minister General Chang Wanquan.
During the meeting, ASEAN defence ministers were invited to provide views on the regional and international security and defence issues.
Hishammuddin said he commended China's contributions towards playing a valuable role in ASEAN.
"With regard to the South China Sea, I reiterated Malaysia's position that we must adhere to the Declaration of Conduct and ensure an expeditious establishment of an effective code of conduct - all in accordance with universally-recognised principles of international law.
"I maintained that the South China Sea should remain free and open, safe and commercially pliable, without any concerns of militarisation," he said.
Hishammuddin added ASEAN should continue to remain united and speak with one voice, and called for a win-win partnership to be forged between ASEAN and China in pursuit of greater regional stability. — Bernama

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