Defence ministers discuss Asean security

Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen (third from right) and his Asean defence counterparts at the meeting with Chinese Minister of National Defence Wei Fenghe (fifth from left) in Bangkok yesterday.
Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen (third from right) and his Asean defence counterparts at the meeting with Chinese Minister of National Defence Wei Fenghe (fifth from left) in Bangkok yesterday. PHOTO: MINDEF

Defence ministers from the region, including Singapore's Dr Ng Eng Hen, met representatives from China, Japan and the United States in a series of informal meetings in Bangkok yesterday.

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

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 - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the US.

At yesterday's meeting with China, Chinese State Councillor and Minister of National Defence, General Wei Fenghe, shared his views on Asean's 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 the 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".

At a third meeting, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper reaffirmed Washington's support for 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 18, 2019, with the headline 'Defence ministers discuss Asean security'. Subscribe