An ASEAN Defence Senior Official Meeting plus Working Group (ADSOM+WG) opened in Lam Dong province on Dec. 7 as the first step to materialise the first ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting plus (ADMM+) agreements.

Defence senior officials came from 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and eight dialogue partners.

ASEAN consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, while its partners are Russia, the US, Japan, India, China, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

At the first ADMM+ held in Hanoi recently, defence ministers determined five areas of priority in defence cooperation among ASEAN members and partners. They cover humanitarian aid and disaster rescue, security at sea, anti-terrorist attacks, military healthcare and peacekeeping. The first three areas have sponsors while the remainder are still open.

The ongoing ADSOM+WG will be a forum for sponsors of programmes of cooperation in humanitarian aid and disaster rescue, marine security and anti-terrorism to raise relevant initiatives.

The meeting will also focus on making a roadmap towards the establishment of Expert Working Groups (EWGs) and reach consensus on the basic contents of relevant documents.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Defence Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh said the event showed Vietnam’s responsible and active efforts to maintain momentum in the ADMM+ process, contributing to peace, stability and security in the region.

It is the last defence and military conference to be held by the Vietnamese Defence Ministry in the year Vietnam holds the ASEAN Presidency.

Indonesia will hold the position in 2011, and will reveal its plans to hold defence meetings within the framework of the ADMM+ at the meeting./.