ASEAN member states are discussing the establishment of a hotline for maritime disputes at a technical workshop held in Gadong, Brunei, from August 26-28.

The Brunei Times quoted Colonel (Rtd) PgDatoPadukaHjAzmanshamPgHj Mohammad, Permanent Secretary of Defence Policy and Development at Brunei’s Ministry of Defence (MinDef) as saying at the opening of the event that there will be a wide range of issues that need to be considered for the arrangement of the establishment and operation of the hotline.

The participants, comprising members of ASEAN nations and secretariat, are expected to come up with the operational concept of the direct communication link; and the technical and technological parameters of the communications systems of the direct communications link.

Experts from Singapore, Australia, China, India, the United States, Britain and South Africa are invited to the event to share their experience and expertise in the field.

The direct communications link was proposed by the Sultan of Brunei in his capacity as Chairman of the 22nd ASEAN Summit last year, to prevent the escalation of maritime disputes in the region.

The hotline aimed to provide a permanent, rapid, reliable and confidential means for ASEAN Defence Ministers.

The ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) held in Myanmar in May adopted the Concept Paper on Establishing a Direct Communications Link in the ADMM Process, and pledged full support to the implementation of the hotline by the next meeting in Malaysia.

Brunei also hosted the first workshop to explore measures in forming the hotline in February.-VNA