SINGAPORE - The 10 Asean countries have set up a hotline between their defence establishments.
The countries are now a phone call away from each other and the hotline will reduce risk of incidents at sea, Minister of Defence Ng Eng Hen said in Facebook post on Tuesday (Nov 3).
The Asean defence ministers were in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday for the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) to discuss regional security issues amid jockeying over the South China Sea between China and the United States.
At the meeting, Malaysia's Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein stressed the importance of the grouping engaging the powers as a bloc.
"How we engage powers as an Asean bloc is very important. Individually, we may not have much impact... but, together as 10 nations engaging with the major powers, we can make a difference," he said.
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin also warned that the world's major powers have to abide by international laws.
The ministers will be taking part in the ADMM-Plus on Wednesday (Nov 4), which gathers Asean and its six dialogue partners that also include Japan and Russia.