Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 05/07/2013 19:52 | By Channel NewsAsia

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in Brunei for ASEAN meeting

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in Brunei for ASEAN meeting

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen in Brunei for ASEAN meeting

SINGAPORE: Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen is in Brunei to attend the 7th ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM).

A statement from the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said during the meeting on Tuesday, the ministers discussed regional security issues of mutual interest.

They commended the good progress in practical cooperation under the ambit of the ADMM and the ADMM-Plus.

During the meeting, the ministers also discussed measures to reduce tensions in the South China Sea.

They supported the leaders' commitment at the 22nd ASEAN Summit for ASEAN to work actively with China towards the early conclusion of a code of conduct in the South China Sea.

They also suggested practical measures to build capacity, enhance confidence and promote stable military-to-military relations.

The ministers further reinforced the importance of keeping the channels of communication open so as to avoid escalation and miscalculation in the South China Sea.

Dr Ng said there is progress at the ASEAN level on the issue. 

The ministers also noted the strong commitment from the ASEAN participants to the conduct of the 2nd ASEAN Militaries' Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise (AHX), which will be co-hosted by Singapore and Brunei on 16 June 2013.

They also expressed strong support for the inaugural ADMM-Plus HADR and Military Medicine (MM) Exercise.

These exercises underscore the progress that ADMM and ADMM-Plus have made in enhancing practical cooperation amongst the militaries in addressing non-traditional security challenges.

The ADMM-Plus HADR/MM Exercise will be held in Brunei from 17 to 20 June 2013.

The ministers also endorsed the new set of co-chairs of the ADMM-Plus Experts' Working Groups (EWGs) for the next cycle starting in April 2014 as well as the establishment of a new EWG on Humanitarian Mine Action.

Dr Ng and the other ministers signed a joint declaration to reaffirm the ASEAN countries' commitment to enhance regional peace and security.

They also called on Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, and had an informal meeting with the newly-appointed Chinese Minister of National Defence Chang Wanquan, who was visiting Brunei at the same time.

While in Brunei, Dr Ng also held a bilateral meeting with Brunei Minister of Energy Yasmin bin Haji Umar, who is the chair of the 7th ADMM.

On Wednesday, Dr Ng will meet Chinese Minister of National Defence Chang Wanquan.

Dr Ng is accompanied by Permanent Secretary for Defence Development Chan Yeng Kit and other senior MINDEF officials.   - CNA/xq

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