SINGAPORE - Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen, in his meeting with other Asean defence ministers on Wednesday (Nov 16), highlighted the importance of security exercises in enhancing the practical cooperation in the region.
Dr Ng was in Vientiane, Laos, to attend the Asean Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) Retreat, which is in its 10th year.
In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said that Dr Ng had noted during the meeting how several key initiatives were impactful in enhancing regional peace and security.
These include the establishment of the ADMM-Plus and ADMM-Plus Experts' Working Groups (EWGs), the field training exercises conducted under these EWGs, the implementation of the Direct Communications Link by Brunei, and the recent establishment of the Asean Centre of Military Medicine by Thailand.
In addition, he stressed the importance of deepening trust and strengthening cooperation between the ADMM and its external partners, through initiatives such as the Asean-China Maritime Exercise and a second ADMM-Plus Maritime Security and Counter-Terrorism Exercise.
He said: "As the current Asean-China Dialogue Relations Coordinator, Singapore fully supports the conduct of the Asean-China Maritime Exercise."
Dr Ng and the other Asean Defence Ministers also witnessed the handover of Laos' ADMM chairmanship to the Philippines.
The country will assume the chairmanship of the 11th ADMM and 4th ADMM-Plus next year (2017).
The Asean Defence Ministers also called on Lao President Bounnhang Vorachith.
An informal meeting with Japanese Minister of Defence Tomomi Inada was also held to reaffirm the strong relations between Asean and Japan.
Dr Ng welcomed Japan's continued engagement of the region, and noted Singapore's excellent bilateral and defence relations with Japan.