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Jun 15, 2021 / 18:34

15th ADMM commits to peace and stability in South China Sea

The ministers agreed to boost security and ensure freedom of navigation and a favorable environment to settle territorial disputes in the South China Sea (called East Sea by Vietnam) in a peaceful manner.

ASEAN defense ministers stated their commitments to ensuring peace, stability and prosperity in the South China Sea at the Bander Seri Begawan Joint Declaration of the 15th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM), which was held in a virtual format on June 15.

 Vietnam’s Minister of National Defence Lieutenant General Phan Van Giang during the virtual meeting. Photo: VNA

These targets would be materialized via the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), as well as the soon finalization of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) that is in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), noted the Joint Declaration.

The ministers agreed to boost security and ensure freedom of navigation and a favorable environment to resolve territorial disputes in the East Sea via peaceful manner.

The Joint Declaration also demonstrated ASEAN’s willingness in strengthening cooperation against the Covid-19 pandemic as stipulated in the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and ASEAN defense ministers’ joint statement on collective response against the pandemic

The bloc’s members would continue to exchange lessons and practices as well as working on new forms of cooperation, including inter-pillar and inter-sectoral coordination.

With the ASEAN Center of Military Medicine and the Network of ASEAN Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defence Experts, ASEAN is expected to soon overcome public medical emergencies, especially the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ministers also welcomed initiatives to build trust among countries, including the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES), the Guidelines for Air Military Encounters (GAME), the ASEAN Direct Communications (ADI), and other activities within the framework of the DOC to promote communications and mutual trust as well as deescalating tensions and risks of accidents, misunderstanding, and miscalculations both in the air and at sea.

ADMM-Plus - an important mechanism to promote peace

Second Defence Minister of Brunei, Major General Pehin Datu Lailaraja Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Md Yussof, as the chair of the meeting, stressed that the pandemic would be the motivation for ASEAN countries to enhance resilience against their challenges.

The Brunei Second Defence Minister called for countries to continue joining the collective efforts for common goals.

At the meeting, Vietnam’s Minister of National Defence Lieutenant General Phan Van Giang expressed his support for Singapore’s proposal of continuing holding the ADMM-Plus, which was first introduced in 2010 when Vietnam was holding the ASEAN Chairmanship.

“The ADMM-Plus mechanism would provide the platform for defense ministers to discuss strategic issues on security and national defense, as well as further substantial cooperation between armies from ASEAN countries and eight Dialogue Partners [Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the US],” Giang added.

"The ADMM-Plus is especially important at a time of growing global and regional uncertainties, as here member countries could express their commitments to contributing to peace, cooperation and development in the region and of the world," Giang said.