Defense Senior Officials Meet in Cambodia

Defense senior officials of the 18 countries comprising the ADMM-Plus expressed strong commitment to maintain peace and stability in the region. Meeting in Siem Reap, Cambodia on April 26, the defense senior officials stressed the peaceful resolution of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute in accordance with universally accepted principles of international law, particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They encouraged concerned countries to undertake continuous consultations and dialogue on the full implementation of the 2002 ASEAN-China Delclaratjon on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

They also exchanged views on signifant defense and security issues including North Korea's failed rocket launch in April and Myanmar's successful conduct of elections. In addition, they reviewed the progress of work within the ADMM-Plus specifically the practical cooperation initiatives spearheaded by the five experts working groups established in 2011.

Meeting separately prior to engaging their non-ASEAN colleagues, the defense senior officials of ASEAN members likewise assessed the progress of defense cooperation within ASEAN. They also reviewed the frequency of ADMM-Plus meetings and endorsed the idea of having the ADMM-Plus meet every two years instead of the current modality of once every three years meeting. This will be approved by the ASEAN defense ministers meet this May.