National Defense Secretary attends ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting in Thailand

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Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorenzana joined other ASEAN Defense Ministers when the 13th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) convened on 11 July 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Before the formal opening of the 13th ADMM, the ASEAN Defense Ministers paid a courtesy call on Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who provided a rundown on what Thailand intends to achieve as this year’s Chair of ASEAN.

During the ADMM, the Defense Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to promote sustainable security through strengthening cooperation in addressing traditional and non-traditional security challenges affecting the region in order to shape a regional environment that is conducive to peace and development.

Secretary Lorenzana reiterated the Philippines’ support for the continuing and new initiatives under the ADMM. The Philippine Defense Secretary also took the opportunity to raise the recent Recto Bank incident and extend our nation’s gratitude to the Vietnamese fishing vessel captain and crew who rescued the twenty-two (22) Filipino crewmen of the fishing vessel that sunk after being hit by a Chinese vessel. He underscored the importance of adopting the ADMM Guidelines for Maritime Interaction, to prevent similar incidents from occurring again.

The 13th ADMM emphasized the support of cross-pillar, cross-sectoral efforts to advance cooperation among the three (3) pillars of the ASEAN Community. The Meeting adopted documents that will guide and further enhance the ADMM process and engagement, namely the Concept Papers on the Guidelines for the Assessment of the ADMM Initiatives, the Role of ASEAN Defence Establishments in Supporting Border Management, the Establishment of ASEAN Military Medicine Conference (AMMC), the Expansion of the ASEAN Direct Communications Infrastructure (ADI); the Guidelines for Maritime Interaction; and the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the ASEAN Our Eyes (AOE). The Meeting likewise welcomed the adoption of the Philippines-initiated Template TOR for Hosting Activities under the Framework of the ADMM-wide Education and Training Exchanges (AETE). Also discussed were possible approaches of the ASEAN defense establishments in responding to the security implications of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing.

On the sidelines of the 13th ADMM, Secretary Lorenzana conducted a bilateral meeting with the Thai Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, as well as a trilateral meeting with Indonesian and Malaysian Defence Ministers Ryamizard Ryacudu and Mohamad bin Sabu, respectively, to discuss matters of interest among the three countries.

Convened annually, the ADMM serves as the highest platform for cooperation among the defense establishments of ASEAN. It aims to promote mutual trust and confidence thereby fostering a greater understanding of regional defense and security challenges and contributing to regional peace and stability. DND