At the meeting, delegates listened to reports and exchanged notes on regional and global security and defense situations. They agreed to enhance cooperation in dealing with challenges in the region, such as natural disasters, terrorism, maritime security issues, freedom of navigation and aviation and other issues. They also recognized the roles of defense organizations in dealing with traditional and non-traditional security challenges and reaffirmed the central role of ASEAN which serves as an impetus for the development of the regional security structures.

Vietnam Defense Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich (1st from left) at the 11th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting  

As for maritime security, delegates affirmed all parties’ commitment to fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, or South China Sea (DOC), and the ASEAN Six-point Principles on the East Sea. They also reiterated the importance of the early completion of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Delegates recognized the contribution of the defense sector in dealing with natural disasters as well as man-made ones, stressing the importance of cooperation in humanitarian aid and disaster relief, peacekeeping and counter-piracy via the ADMM Logistics Support Framework (ALSF). The importance of the implementation of the ASEAN Defense Industry Collaboration (ADIC) in promoting defense products and services within ASEAN as well as in searching for potential opportunities for the industry in ASEAN was also mentioned.

The delegates strongly condemned violent extremist acts in the world, especially in Southeast Asia, and reaffirmed their mutual commitment to countering terrorism and extremism in any forms.

A number of documents were passed at the meeting, including the Three-year Work Program of ADMM (2017-2019), a Concept Paper on ADMM/ADMM+ Initiatives, Principles for ADMM-wide Education and Training, Concept Paper on Enhancing Linkage between ADMM and NADI (Network of ASEAN Defense and Security Institutions), etc.

On the afternoon of October 23, heads of delegations signed the ADMM-11 Statement on “Partnering for change, engaging the world.” The statement reaffirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, security and navigation and aviation safety and freedom in the East Sea as well as the need to enhance trust among members, refraining from the use of force or threatening to use force, dealing with disputes by peaceful means and in line with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982. The statement stressed the importance of self-restraint from actions that may further complicate existing situations as well as the full implementation of DOC and the framework of COC.

On the sidelines of ADMM-11, Vietnam’s Defense Minister, General Ngo Xuan Lich met with his Lao counterpart, Senior Lieutenant General Chansamon Channhalat on the afternoon of October 23. The two ministers assessed recent defense cooperation and its contribution to maintaining political stability and security of each country, promoting strong Vietnam-Laos relations. The two officials agreed to continue effectively and substantially boosting defense cooperation in the coming time.

Later in the evening of the same day, the Vietnamese delegation attended a reception and dinner hosted by the Defense Minister of the Philippines, Delfin Lorenzana, for all of the ASEAN delegates attending ADMM-11 and the fourth ADMM+.

Translated by Huu Duong