BANGKOK: Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu today attended the 13th Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) that concluded with the signing of a joint declaration on sustainable security and adoption of initiatives to strengthen defence and security cooperation in the region.
The Joint Declaration of the Asean Defence Ministers on Sustainable Security emphasises the importance of working together to safeguard security and stability in the region and to explore new mutually beneficial areas of cooperation.
The meeting also adopted six concept papers, a testament to Asean’s desire to strengthen cooperation to tackle key regional security challenges.
The documents are on: Guidelines for the Assessment of the ADMM Initiatives; Role of Asean Defence Establishments in Supporting Border Management; Expansion of the Asean Direct Communications Infrastructure in the ADMM Process to the Plus Countries; Terms of Reference of Asean Our Eyes, Establishment of Asean Military Medicine Conference and ADMM Guidelines for Maritime Interaction.
Thailand Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan chaired the 13th ADMM themed, “Sustainable Security” to help move forward Thailand’s chairmanship theme of “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”. All 10 Asean defence ministers and the secretary-general of Asean attended the meeting.
In a statement, the Defence Ministry said the presence of Mohamad at the 13th ADMM manifested Malaysia’s enduring commitment towards ADMM and Asean, which remained a significant multilateral platform contributing towards Malaysia’s defence diplomacy with other regional partners.
It said the ADMM also discussed and highlighted the importance of enhancing awareness and strengthening defence cooperation in supporting border management as well as in combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU Fishing) which is often associated with other transnational crimes, such as human trafficking, drug trafficking and piracy.
“Overall, the 13th ADMM aimed at sustaining defence cooperation in order to create a conducive environment and connectivity for the people of Asean while preserving peace, security and stability in the region,” it said.
The ministry said the 13th ADMM also recognised the importance of its extra-regional partners in achieving regional peace and stability in which the Asean member states’ defence ministers agreed to expand direct and secure telecommunication connections among them via the Asean Direct Communications Infrastructure (ADI), to now include the Plus countries, as well as to continue practical defence cooperation for capability building and interoperability through the ADMM-Plus EWGs.
It said the ADMM aimed to promote mutual trust and confidence through greater understanding of defence and security challenges as well as enhancement of transparency and openness.
The meeting also served as a platform for Asean defence ministers to consider and adopt key documents on the ADMM initiatives and prepare for the upcoming Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) in November 2019.
The ADMM is also the highest-level meeting amongst the defence establishments of Asean member states, which has been held annually since 2006, under the umbrella of the Asean Political-Security Community (APSC).
On the sidelines of the 13th ADMM, Mohamad and other Asean defence ministers made a courtesy call on Thai Prime Minister, General Prayuth Chan o-cha.
During the discussion, the defence ministers concurred with General Prayuth’s viewpoints on the importance of them working together guided by the Asean principles of mutual trust, mutual respect and partnership in addressing common regional security challenges.
Prayuth, who is also the new Defence Minister, praised ADMM’s accomplishments and commitment to advancing Asean and is confident that the close cooperation amongst the defence establishments of Asean members will lead to a stronger Asean. — Bernama