Defense ministers from various Southeast Asian countries and their dialogue partners met recently to discuss ways to improve their relationship and cooperation amid the different regional security challenges that they face, the Department of National Defense (DND) said Saturday, Nov. 13.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was represented by Assistant Secretary for Strategic Assessments and International Affairs Teodoro Cirilo Torralba III during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Retreat and Handover Ceremony last Nov. 10. It was held virtually due to the prevailing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
During the top level meeting, the defense ministers congratulated Brunei Darussalam for the successful ADMM and ADMM-Plus Chairmanship in 2020, and welcomed Cambodia’s incoming ASEAN Chairmanship in 2022.
“They also acknowledged the need to prepare the future of the ADMM especially in its relations with the ADMM-Plus, as well as ASEAN’s friends and dialogue partners,” said DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong.
There were also informal meetings that were held with Australia and the Republic of Korea (ROK) defense ministers at the sidelines of the event.
“At the ASEAN-ROK and ASEAN-Australia informal meetings, the Defense Ministers shared views on regional security challenges and affirmed commitments to strengthening relationship and cooperation with the ASEAN at the center,” Andolong noted.
“Both the ROK and Australian Defense Ministers intend to continue and deepen cooperation with the ASEAN through the ADMM-Plus,” he added.
The ADMM is the highest defense consultative and cooperative mechanism in ASEAN. It aims to promote regional peace and stability through dialogue and cooperation in defense and security.
Meanwhile, the ADMM-Plus is a platform for the 10 ASEAN countries and its eight dialogue partners to strengthen security and defense cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region.
The ASEAN members include the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, Vietnam, Brunei, and Laos while the dialogue partners are Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, and United States.