ADMM-Plus Convenes after ASEAN Defense Ministers Hold Retreat

Together with the other ASEAN defense ministers, Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin met with the defense ministers of Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the US during the ADMM-Plus held in Brunei last August 29. Convening for the second time since it was launched in 2010, the ADMM-Plus provided the 18 defense ministers an opportunity to exchange views on regional security issues, with territorial and maritime disputes as well as the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula being consistently alluded to by the ministers. Among the other issues discussed are peacekeeping operations, transnational crimes, situation in Syria, climate change, cyber security and communicable diseases.

The Philippines shared its perspectives on the West Philippine Sea, situation in the Middle East and Africa, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR), terrorism and 
major power relations. Secretary Gazmin emphasized that a harmonious relations among major powers would benefit the region as all countries have a role to play in maintaining regional peace and stability.

Prior to the ADMM-Plus, the ASEAN defense ministers held a retreat on August 28 where they reviewed the activities initiated by the ADMM as well as other regional security issues, particularly on future ASEAN defense cooperation in anticipation of the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015. They also examined how the ADMM-Plus process enables the ASEAN’s defense sector to engage other regional powers and ensure ASEAN centrality in promoting defense and security cooperation.

The Ministers explored initiatives that are intended to help reduce tensions and risks and manage potential conflict in the region. Such initiatives include proposals to establish a hotline mechanism, common lines of communication and information sharing platforms.

After the Retreat, the ASEAN defense ministers had an informal meeting with US defense secretary Chuck Hagel to discuss regional security issues and ASEAN-US political security cooperation as well as compare security outlooks. Such an informal meeting has been regularly held between ASEAN and the US defense ministers since 2011.