Regional defence ministers meet counterparts from China, Japan and US

Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen (third from right) and other Asean defence ministers at the meeting with Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe (fifth from left) in Bangkok on Nov 17, 2019.
Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen (third from right) and other Asean defence ministers at the meeting with Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe (fifth from left) in Bangkok on Nov 17, 2019.PHOTO: MINDEF

SINGAPORE - Defence ministers from the region, including Singapore's Ng Eng Hen, met with representatives from China, Japan and the United States in a series of informal meetings on Sunday (Nov 17) in Bangkok.

They discussed issues such as defence cooperation and regional security, said the Defence Ministry in a statement.

Dr Ng is in Thailand for the Asean Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Retreat and the ADMM-Plus, which involves the 10 Asean member states and eight other countries.

They are Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

At today's informal meeting with China, Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe shared his views on the regional security situation. He also made suggestions to enhance defence cooperation between Asean and China, which were supported by his Asean counterparts.

Japanese Defence Minister Taro Kono announced the Vientiane Vision 2.0 at a separate meeting. This is an updated version of 2016 defence cooperation guidelines between Japan and Asean. It seeks to deepen cooperation "through enhancing regional security by focusing cooperation on ensuring the rule of law, strengthening maritime security and dealing with non-traditional threats".

In a third meeting, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper reaffirmed Washington's support from the ADMM-Plus and its commitment to enhancing peace and stability in the region.

The leaders discussed ways to enhance cooperation and information-sharing to address regional security issues, such as terrorism and maritime security.

The first Asean-US Maritime Exercise was held in September, with manoeuvres in international waters including the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea.

Dr Ng will also have bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the event. He is accompanied by Permanent Secretary for Defence Chan Yeng Kit, as well as officials from his ministry and the Singapore Armed Forces.