1. The First ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting – Plus (ADMM-Plus) was convened in Ha Noi, Viet Nam on 12 October 2010. The Meeting was chaired by General Phung Quang Thanh, Minister of National Defence of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.
2. The Meeting was attended by the Defence Ministers and Representatives of Defence Ministers from ten ASEAN Member States and eight ASEAN Dialogue Partners (hereby referred to as the “Plus” countries), namely Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, the Russian Federation, and the United States. The Secretary-General of ASEAN was also in attendance.
3. His Excellency Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam attended the opening of the Meeting and delivered the welcome remarks, in which he underscored the significance of establishing the ADMM-Plus. After the Meeting, the Defence Ministers and Representatives of Defence Ministers paid a courtesy call to His Excellency Mr. Nguyen Minh Triet, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. At the call, the President welcomed the ADMM-Plus in enhancing defence cooperation between ASEAN and the “Plus” countries.
4. The Meeting welcomed the establishment of the ADMM-Plus and congratulated Viet Nam for hosting of the First ADMM-Plus, which represented a significant milestone in ASEAN’s history. The ADMM-Plus is the first official defence forum involving Defence Ministers of ASEAN Member States and key extra-regional countries.
5. The Meeting recognised the positive contributions by the “Plus” countries in enhancing peace, stability and development in Southeast Asia. The Meeting also welcomed the interest of the “Plus” countries in promoting closer cooperation with ASEAN through the ADMM-Plus.
6. The Meeting reaffirmed the importance of ASEAN centrality in the ADMM-Plus process. The Meeting emphasised that cooperation within the framework of ADMM-Plus should follow the ASEAN principles of respect for independence and sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs of member states, consultation and consensus, and moving at a pace comfortable to all parties.
7. The Meeting also affirmed that the ADMM-Plus is a key component of a robust, effective, open, and inclusive regional security architecture. The ADMM-Plus would enhance friendship, mutual trust and confidence through greater dialogue and concrete cooperation among the ADMM-Plus defence establishments.
8. The Meeting noted recent developments in implementing the ASEAN Charter and building an ASEAN Community by 2015 based on the three pillars of Political Security Community, Economic Community, and Social-Cultural Community. The Meeting also noted efforts by ASEAN in deepening relationship with its Dialogue Partners under the framework of ASEAN+1, ASEAN+3, East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and ADMM-Plus to support the goal of building the ASEAN Community.
9. The Meeting had a wide-ranging and fruitful exchange of views on regional and international security issues of mutual interest. The Meeting also shared updates on member countries’ defence and security policies. The Meeting affirmed that peace, stability and development remained the prevailing trends in the Asia-Pacific region. However, the Meeting noted that there existed complex and transnational security challenges that are beyond the scope of any country to handle alone, such as natural disaster, maritime security, terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, climate change, transnational crimes, and infectious diseases.
10. In this regard, the Meeting noted that the region is prone to natural disasters and agreed on the importance of deepening cooperation in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR). The Meeting welcomed existing initiatives to build capacity and enhance capabilities, including the ARF Disaster Relief Exercise and ASEAN HADR Table-top exercise in 2011.
11. The Meeting agreed that terrorism continued to pose a key challenge to the security of the region. The Meeting further agreed that the ADMM-Plus has significant potential for member countries to share information, build vital networks and enhance capabilities to combat the threat of terrorism.
12. The Meeting noted that the member states are interested in maritime security cooperation and agreed that the collective efforts are required to address the challenges of piracy, sea-roberry, and trafficking in persons and disasters at sea. Some delegates touched upon traditional security challenges, such as disputes in the South China Sea. The Meeting welcomed efforts by concerned parties to address the issue by peaceful means in conformity with the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) of 2002 and recognised principles of international law, including United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).
13. The Meeting appreciated the opportunity to have an open and candid exchange of views on the key security challenges faced by the region. The Meeting agreed that this would contribute to building confidence, enhancing transparency and allowing countries to better appreciate one another’s views and perspectives on regional security issues.
14. The Meeting agreed that the ADMM-Plus provides a useful platform for building a community of cooperation based on a confluence of shared interests. The Meeting further agreed that member countries could forge concrete cooperation in areas of common security interest, with a view to building capacity, developing expertise, and enhancing coordination in areas that can contribute to regional peace and stability. The Meeting reaffirmed that the ADMM-Plus was developed from a good foundation for practical cooperation. The Meeting agreed that there was significant potential for cooperative activities within the ADMM-Plus.
15. The Meeting welcomed the Discussion Paper on “Potential, Prospects and Direction of Practical Cooperation within the Framework of the ADMM-Plus”, and agreed that the paper provided a useful basis for discussion on how the ADMM-Plus member countries could further enhance practical cooperation in areas of mutual interest. In this connection, the Meeting agreed that the five areas suggested in the paper, namely, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime security, military medicine, counter-terrorism and peacekeeping operations (PKO) were areas that the ADMM-Plus member countries could work together for a start.
16. In this regard, the Meeting agreed to establish an ASEAN Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting-Plus (ADSOM-Plus), comprising senior officials from all the ADMM-Plus member countries. The ADSOM-Plus would be responsible for implementing agreements and decisions of the ADMM-Plus, including exploring the various areas for practical cooperation.
17. The Meeting further agreed that it would be useful and important to establish Experts’ Working Groups (EWGs) to promote cooperation in the five identified areas. The EWGs could oversee activities and plan concrete initiatives to further cooperation in these areas. In this regard, Viet Nam and China expressed interest to co-chair the EWG on HADR. In addition, Malaysia and Australia offered to co-chair the EWG on maritime security, and the Philippines offered to explore with New Zealand how to work together in the area of PKO.
18. The Meeting tasked the Senior Defence Officials to follow up on the Defence Ministers’ decisions on practical cooperation. The Meeting further tasked the Senior Defence Officials to work out the details to operationalise the EWGs, including the modalities to identify the chair and co-chair of each EWG, the mechanism for the rotation of the chair of the EWGs, as well as the approval process for the EWGs’ concept and workplan.
19. The Meeting also agreed to adopt the Ha Noi Joint Declaration of the First ADMM-Plus. The Meeting noted that the Joint Declaration will mark the significance of the establishment of the ADMM-Plus, as well as the commitment of the ADMM-Plus member countries to enhance peace, stability and development in the region.
20. The Meeting welcomed Brunei Darussalam as the Chair and host of the 2nd ADMM-Plus in 2013.
21. The Meeting further welcomed Indonesia to convene the ADSOM-Plus and other related meetings during its Chairmanship in 2011.
22. The Meeting also welcomed Viet Nam to convene the ADSOM-Plus Working Group meeting in December 2010.
23. The Meeting expressed their appreciation to the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and its Ministry of National Defence for their generous hospitality and excellent arrangements.