DND in the 4th Seoul Defense Dialogue

Speaking during a special session of the Seoul Defense Dialogue (SDD) last September 10, Assistant Secretary for Strategic Assessment Raymund Quilop stressed that countries must move from tacit recognition and implicit support to actual manifestation and concrete actions, if non-proliferation; otherwise, non-proliferation would remain to be a just an advocacy with its realization being more a vision for the future rather than a reality for the world and the region. While a global non-proliferation regime anchored on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) exists, an inherent challenge exists: how to ensure that the right to peaceful use of nuclear material and technology does not contribute to proliferation.  Such is made complicated by the fact states are no longer the sole possible proliferators; non-state entities could likewise be proliferation actors. At the same time, disarmament must be achieved as a quid pro quo to non-proliferation called for under the NPT.  

Held in the Republic of Korea for the 4th time, the dialogue brought together delegations from various defense and international organizations across the world to include representation from the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Korea’s President Park Geun-hye herself opened the dialogue with her keynote speech on September 9 where she stressed that while the region enjoys economic interdependence, there remains security challenges. A security paradox exists for the region, hence the need for security and defense cooperation.Discussions during this year’s SDD focused on issues that have long challenges to regional peace and stability such as Korean Unification, non-proliferation, and maritime crisis in East Asia as well as matters that have recently emerged as a security concerns such as cyber defense, global health security, and violent extremism.  

In a meeting among heads of delegations prior to the dialogue, Undersecretary of National Defense Honorio S. Azcueta who has participated in the Dialogue since the 1st time it was held in 2012 called for the adoption of a proposed SDD Vision Statement outlining the shared intention among defense vice-ministers to have the Dialogue be an effective platform for cooperation and peace. USEC Azcueta likewise had bilateral discussions with Korea’s defense vice-minister Baek Seungjoo and Chile’s Vice Minister Marcos Robledo. While the interaction with the Korean defense vice-minister centered on how to further substantiate the Memorandum on Defense Cooperation signed between the Philippines and Korea in 2013, the discussions with the Chilean defense vice-minister focused on Chile’s intention to be part of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM).

Parallel with the SDD was the convening of the Cyber Working Group which has stood up as an integral part of the dialogue focusing on the issue of cyber security. Director Nebuchadnezzar Alejandrino of the Department's Management Information System Service led the DND team to the Cyber Working Group.