ASEAN, US strengthen security cooperation

(VOVworld)- The ASEAN-US Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting held last week in Hawaii agreed on a number of solutions to strengthen bilateral security cooperation in the near future. The agreement proves the ASEAN’s important role in President Barak Obama’s rebalancing policy toward the Asia-Pacific region.
ASEAN, US strengthen security cooperation  - ảnh 1
ASEAN, US strengthen security cooperation

Held on September 30, the ASEAN-US Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting was attended by defense ministers of ASEAN countries and US Defense Secretary Aston Carter. They discussed maritime security, anti-terrorism, and responses to non-traditional challenges. ASEAN defense ministers and US defense secretary reiterated the commitments made by ASEAN and the US at the Special ASEAN-US Leaders’ Summit held in Sunnylands, the USA in February 2016 and the ASEAN-US Summit in Laos last September. They discussed an inclusive regional security network on the basis of international law so that countries can contribute to peace and prosperity. US Defense Secretary Aston Carter urged countries to make additional efforts to respond to non-traditional challenges like natural disasters and piracy. He urged ASEAN countries to coordinate together in carrying out humanitarian assistance and disaster relief as natural disasters cause huge losses to people in the region.

As for maritime security, the US proposed to increase cooperation between maritime law enforcement forces of the US and ASEAN countries. The US wish is to keep the vital sea routes that run through Southeast Asia free and safe. The ministers agreed to set up a channel for information sharing and organize a meeting on maritime security next year involving the participation of coast guards and naval forces of the US and ASEAN. On this occasion, the US announced its “Maritime Security Initiative”, under which the US will host a number of maritime-related events with ASEAN including an ASEAN Maritime Dialogue and in-depth training on maritime awareness. The US Coast Guards will also strengthen maritime cooperation with Southeast Asian countries. At the meeting, US Secretary of State Ashton Carter revealed a plan to organize a joint patrol with ASEAN’s naval forces of to increase oversight capabilities.

In regard to counter-terrorism, the ministers agreed that regional countries should promote information sharing as terrorist activities have evidently risen in the region. Singapore’s Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said violent extremist groups are posing increasing threats to Southeast Asia. He said more than 1,000 Southeast Asian people have joined IS in Iraq and Syria. He added that the elimination of IS at their headquarters in Iraq and Syria will increase risk for the region as IS gunmen will return to their homeland.