All ten ASEAN Defence Ministers at the 6th ASEAN Defence Minister Meeting (ADMM) in Phnom Penh signed a joint declaration on several common issues. They include:
1. Humanitarian aid disaster relief (HDAR)
2. Anti terrorism
3. Closer ASEAN plus forum
4. Civil war free zone and master plan for security for the region
5. Nuclear free zone
6th ADMM also agreed to reduce the ‘ASEAN Plus’ meeting from three to two years. The rational is having the ‘friendly’ states to the region work closer. In the last ADMM hosted by Indonesia last year, United States of America was invited.
The 6th ADMM also adopt ‘Declaration of Conduct’ (DOC) and committed to fully realize the ‘Code of Conduct’ (COC) on issues pertaining to the multiple claims on areas in the South China Sea.
This meeting also recognize the informal meeting of ASEAN Chief of Defence Forces in April and also for the Chiefs of Armed Forces Services, to promote better understanding and co-operation. It is clearly that ASEAN nations use their military as an extension to their foreign policy and foster better regional co-operation.
The next ADMM would be held in Brunei.
This evening, ASEAN Defence Ministers would call on visiting China Defence Minister Gen Liang Guang Li to Cambodia and this informal meeting, it is expected the agenda of the multiple claims in the South China Sea would be raised. The short meeting is expected to be on friendly courtesy call mode.
During the media conference, The Phillipines Defence Minister explained in his meeting with Defence Minister of China yesterday, both nation agreed to restraint on their options, statements and continue open communication pertaining to the South China Sea multiple claims issue.
*Updated 1000pm Cambodian time
In the press conference to Malaysian media after the dinner hosted by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen. Tea Banh, Dr Zahid expressed his views that the ADMM is progressing far ahead than expected. He also reiterated Malaysia is also in full support on the agreement achieved between The Phillipines and China yesterday and confident the approach of close working relationship to foster diplomatic solution against a military stand off between ASEAN nations is the best resolve.