Asean defence ministers to discuss IS threat

Asean defence ministers to discuss IS threat
Malaysian Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR - Issues related to the Islamic State (IS) threat to the region will be among the focus of ASEAN defence ministers, who will meet with their dialogue partners at the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus.

US Defence Secretary Dr Ash Carter and China's Defence Minister Gen Chang Wanquan are among those from the ASEAN dialogue partner countries that have confirmed their attendance to the meeting here, which will be held from Nov 2 to 5.

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the "IS militant threat is real and, if not handled properly, has the potential of turning this region into the biggest catastrophe the world has ever seen".

The ADMM-Plus, the first ever meeting to be hosted by Malaysia, would discuss ways to strengthen security and defence co-operation for peace, stability and development in the region, he told reporters here yesterday.

As the chairman of ADMM for this year, Hishammuddin said Malaysia's position was crucial in its role to ensure the region remained stable.

ADMM is the highest defence consultative and cooperative mechanism in ASEAN on matters related to defence.

It is aimed at promoting mutual trust and confidence through greater understanding of defence and security challenges, as well as enhancement of transparency and openness.

ASEAN's eight dialogue partners in the ADMM-Plus are Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

Hishammuddin said the theme of the meeting would be "ASEAN - Maintaining Regional Secu­rity and Stability for and by The People".

The inaugural ADMM-Plus was held in Hanoi on Oct 12, 2010. The defence ministers then agreed on five areas of practical co-operation - maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster management, peacekeeping operations and military medicine.

To facilitate co-operation in these areas, five expert working groups (EWGs) were established.

A new EWG on Humanitarian Mine Action was established following the endorsement of the seventh ADMM on May 7, 2013.

The second ADMM-Plus was convened in Bandar Seri Begawan on Aug 29, 2013.

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