ASEAN defence officials at the 12th ADMM(Photo: VNA)

Singapore (VNA) – Defence Ministers of the ASEAN bloc and eight dialogues partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the US) have agreed to step up collaboration to counter terrorist threats, and consolidate mutual trust and understanding.

This is the main content of the two joint statements issued in the framework of the 5th ASEAN Defence Minister’s Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus) taking place in Singapore on October 20.

The ministers reaffirmed ADMM-Plus as a key component of a robust, effective and open regional security architecture that promotes mutual trust and confidence among the defence establishments.

They recognised that it is important for the ADMM Plus to put in place practical confidence-building measures that are in the spirit of the ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint 2025, to ensure the safety and security of the sea and air lanes that are critical for the region’s continued development and prosperity.

They reaffirmed their commitment to abide by the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) and implement the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972.

They welcomed the ADMM’s adoption of the Guidelines for Air Military Encounters and its Operational Annexes on Observing Existing Aviation Conventions and Rules, Safe and Professional Communications, Standard Flight Procedures, and Encouraging Mutual Trust and Confidence in the Air.

The ADMM Plus expresses support in principle for the initiative and intends to explore the application of these guidelines by the ADMM Plus in consultation with ADMM Plus countries  so as to ensure a safe, secure and peaceful operating environment in the aviation domain, the statement said.

Regarding counter-terrorism cooperation, the ministers pledged to work together to explore new forms of collaboration to build ASEAN capabilities in tackling the threat of terrorism.

The ADMM Plus meeting also discussed and agreed on measures to bolster cooperative mechanism within ADMM-Plus, with an emphasis on ASEAN’s central role and responsibility of the partners.

Lieutenant General Vu Chien Thang, Director of the Foreign Relations Department under the Ministry of Defence, said that at the meeting, Vietnam presented specific recommendations to strengthen the collaborative ties between ASEAN and partner countries.

With China, Vietnam suggested the formation of direct communication lines between ASEAN and Chinese defence ministers, holding of the first ASEAN-China exchange of young officers, and establishment of a joint working group.

Vietnam proposed that the US help enhance capacity of ASEAN member states in the fields of sea security, humanitarian assistance, search and rescue work, and settlement of post-war consequences.

With Japan, Thang said that Vietnam affirmed its support for the implementation of Japan’s “Vientiane Vision” and asking the East Asian country to continue support for the ASEAN bloc in environmental protection, particularly water security.

In addition, Vietnam backed international efforts and extension of cooperation to prevent terrorism and terrorist sponsorship in any forms.

On the sidelines of the ADMM-Plus, there were informal meetings between ASEAN defence ministers and the US Secretary of Defence, and defence ministers of China and Japan, discussing ways to improve capacity for ASEAN and its member states, contributing to maintaining regional peace and stability.-VNA