ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan talked with VietNamNet about the first ASEAN Defence Ministersâ€™ Meeting Plus (ADMM+), which opened on October 12 in Hanoi.
LookAtVietnam – The first ASEAN Defence Ministersâ€™ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) opened today, October 12, in Hanoi with the attendance of the Defence Ministers of ten ASEAN countries and eight partners – China, Japan, South Korea, India, New Zealand, Australia, Russia and the US.
ASEAN Secretary General Surin Pitsuwan talked with VietNamNetâ€™s Xuan Linh about the event.
What does ASEAN expect from the ADMM+ in boosting regional security cooperation with eight partners?
ADMM+ is the realization of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) initiative. Since it was established in 1994, ARF has always focused on defence cooperation but this time they want to have defence policy exchange at the highest level and to set up a key dialogue mechanism on significant issues for security, stability and trust building in East Asia, not only in ASEAN.
East Asia has become very important to the world in terms of economic recovery, financial stability and it can create a driving force for global economic recovery.
Therefore, it is extremely important that the international community believes in East Asia through ASEAN, because only ASEAN can create a dialogue mechanism and a process of cooperation which is the foundation for the exchange of viewpoints among ASEAN countries as well as between ASEAN and its major partners.
We have to maintain mutualtrust within the bloc and we need to transmit positive signals to the international community that East Asia, with ASEAN, is the nucleus which can lead the way, make the basis for stability, security cooperation, peace, through which to ensure economic prosperity.
ASEAN defines five priorities in ADMM+ cooperation, including disaster relief, sea security, army medical cooperation, anti-terrorism and peace-keeping activities. Why does ASEAN give these five specific priorities?
Because the ten member countries or 18 countries attending ADMM+ can easily reach consensus on these issues. These fields are the common concerns, which are easy for effective cooperation and cooperation in these fields would contribute for integration, broad cooperation and mutualtrust in East Asia.
One of them is sea security. Why does ASEAN focus on this in cooperation with its eight partners?
ASEAN has a strategic geographical position, which connects the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, has a lot of natural resources and is the place for trade exchange between the region and the world. Therefore, it is extremely important to ensure security and free trade on the international sea route passing through the region. I think sea security is not only the concern of ASEAN but also its partners, which join or do not join this forum.
Is ADMM+ another forum for ASEAN and China to deal with conflicts related to the East Sea?
ADMM+ will at least be the place to promote dialogues in the region. Such a forum is very important for us to better promote mutual understanding and mutual trust, contributing to maintaining growth and prosperity.
You previously said that you expected ASEAN and China to early promote technical discussions on the Code of Conduct in the East Sea. What is the expectation now?
I hope that we can promote discussions, exchanges and I believe that ASEAN and China would prove to the international community that we can achieve that code and we can deal with differences. And it would be the constructive and peaceful code of conduct.