Japan-ASEAN Vice Ministerial Meeting Held for the 6th Time

Sharing some lessons learned in dealing with challenges in the Philippines’ maritime domain, specifically in regard to other countries’ intrusions in Philippine maritime territory and illegal exploitation of the country’s maritime resources, Undersecretary of National Defense Honorio S. Azcueta stressed the need to promote maritime defense cooperation at the Japan-ASEAN Vice-Ministerial Meeting held in Yokohama, Japan last October 7. The availability of a hotline mechanism among defense establishments would contribute much in managing maritime tension, something which the Philippines has long advocated and the essence of its hosting 
in 2012 of a dialogue among the defense ministers of the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia  in Cebu, Philippines.

Meanwhile, the other vice-ministers acknowledged various mechanisms for promoting maritime stability to include the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM)-Plus working group on maritime security and the recent adoption in April of the Code of Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) by the Western Pacific Naval Symposium.

Given the existence of maritime security challenges, vice-ministers taking part in the meeting discussed the necessity of building capacity and explored equipment and technology cooperation to enable regional countries meet those challenges. They acknowledged though that the specific needs and unique context of each country should be taken into consideration.

Japan put forth the idea of naval vessels functioning as “sea bases” to facilitate prompt humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HA/DR) when a calamity hits regional countries and stressed that the availability of acquisition and cross servicing agreements (ACSAs) between or among regional states would substantively enhance the ability of regional armed forces respond to disasters. Beyond conducting exercises that promote interoperability and build confidence, Singapore put forth the idea of cooperative operations between or among regional militaries.