This year saw Singapore as the chairman of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and the 12th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and 5th ADMM-Plus. Progress was made on initiatives that span three main areas: Counter terrorism, Chemical, Biological and Radiological threats and Confidence-building measures. Alongside the 5th ADMM-Plus, the ASEAN Defence Ministers also stepped up cooperation with its Plus partners through the conduct of three informal meetings with the United States, China, and Japan.
The ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) is the highest defence consultative and cooperative mechanism in ASEAN. The ADMM aims to promote mutual trust and confidence through greater understanding of defence and security challenges as well as enhancement of transparency and openness. Cooperation in the ASEAN defence sector has grown steadily since its inception in 2006. Work in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), in particular, has been progressing at a significant pace. All ASEAN Member States, namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam are members of the ADMM.
The Inaugural ADMM-Plus was convened in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, on 12 October 2010. The Defence Ministers then agreed on five areas of practical cooperation to pursue under this new mechanism, namely maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping operations and military medicine. To facilitate cooperation on these areas, Experts’ Working Groups (EWGs) are established. The ADMM-Plus countries include ten ASEAN Member States, and eight Plus countries, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, ROK, Russian Federation, and the United States.