Heads of delegations to the 12th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting pose for a photo (Photo: VNA)

Singapore (VNA) – ASEAN defence ministers convened their 12th meeting in Singapore on October 19, agreeing to establish a network for responding to new security challenges posed by chemical, biological, and radiological threats.

Top defence officials of the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) attended the meeting. The Vietnamese delegation was led by Minister of National Defence General Ngo Xuan Lich, who is also a Politburo member and Deputy Secretary of the Central Military Commission.

Addressing the event, Singaporean Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen emphasised the importance of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) in the regional architecture as it helps promote strategic dialogue and practical cooperation among ASEAN members.

Aside from agreeing to set up a network for coping with new security challenges, the ministers also pledged to push ahead with fighting terrorism on the basis of defence and military cooperation, and coordinating in joint sea and air exercises to minimise unexpected damage and prevent tension escalations.

They also reached a consensus towards investing efforts in implementing the “Our Eyes” initiative on sharing intelligence information in the region.

The ministers reiterated the importance of solidarity and unity in the ASEAN bloc to effectively cope with common security challenges.

In the context of a rapidly changing strategic complexion, they stressed that ASEAN needs to continue enhancing cooperation with major partners to maintain peace and stability in the region.

Concluding the 12th ADMM, the ministers issued a joint statement affirming the commitment to keeping peace and stability in the region and fostering cooperation to deal with current security challenges. –VNA