Bali, Indonesia, 25 October 2011
ASEAN Defence Ministers want to undertake more cooperation to strengthen peace and security and contribute to building the ASEAN Community.
This was part of the outcome of the one-day retreat of the ASEAN Defence Ministers here yesterday, in which the Ministers and the Secretary-General of ASEAN exchanged views on ways and means of further enhancing cooperation under the framework of the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM). Ideas for developing the ADMM-Plus, in which the ASEAN Defence Ministers meet with their counterparts from eight Dialogue Partner countries (Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia, and the United States) were also explored.
The ASEAN Defence Ministers were keen to see more concrete actions in such areas as cooperation with the civil society organisations in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), network of the peace-keeping training centres in ASEAN Member States, and military industry cooperation.
The Ministers also exchanged views about the South China Sea and other security issues. Dr Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary-General of ASEAN, briefed the Ministers on the existing framework of ASEAN-China dialogue and confidence-building in the South China Sea, including the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).
The Ministers believe they have a role to play in contributing to peace and security in the ASEAN Community, including in the South China Sea. “We know what we don’t want in our Political-Security Community. We don’t want to be a military pact; we don’t want to do anything against any outsider; we don’t want to use force,” said Indonesian Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Chairman of the ADMM.
“But do we know what we want to see,” he asked. He suggested that key principles can be extracted from various key ASEAN documents and agreements such as the ASEAN Charter, the ASEAN (Bangkok) Declaration, the Bali Concord I and II, ZOPFAN, SEANWFZ, and the Roadmap for an ASEAN Community 2015.
The ASEAN Secretariat will follow up on the suggestion by the ADMM Chairman. Dr Surin offered to prepare a diagram to show various cooperation areas of the ADMM, ADMM-Plus, the ARF, the AMMTC, the ACDM, and the EAS, as well as a compilation of ideas and initiatives in the ADMM. “This will show the ASEAN defence establishments where they are in ASEAN,” said Dr Surin, and how they can or are related to others.
ASEAN Fair 2011
Prior to the retreat, the ASEAN Defence Ministers met informally with the U.S. Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta, to exchange views on issues of common interest.
The ASEAN Defence Minister and Dr Surin took part in the opening ceremony for the inauguration of the ASEAN Fair 2011. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, accompanied by First Lady Ani Yudhoyono, and several senior Indonesian Cabinet members, presided over the ceremony.
The ASEAN Fair is the President’s initiative to celebrate the rich cultural diversity in the ASEAN Community, and to bring ASEAN closer to its people. It is a month-long celebration in Bali and Jakarta, which will culminate in the 19th ASEAN Summit & Related Summits in Bali next month.
One of the highlights of the opening ceremony was the acrobatic flying show by Indonesian Air Force’s “The Jupiters” performing 15 breath-taking manoeuvre stunts.