Defense ministers from member countries of the Association of Nations (ASEAN) held a meeting with defense ministers or representatives from a number of partner countries that are members of ADMM Plus, at the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC), Thursday (16/11). The partner countries include: America (US), Japan, Australia, China, New Zealand, India, Russia and Korea.
Indonesian Defense Minister, Prabowo Subianto said the meeting showed a shared commitment to increasing dialogue and cooperation between ASEAN countries and all partner countries in facing complex and growing security challenges. According to him, various security problems in the region can only be resolved with open and long-term global collaboration.
“The level of prosperity of our region continues to increase, for this reason we are aware that we must maintain peace and security. For this reason we all feel that mechanisms like this are very important. “Many countries feel that the ADMM and ADMM plus mechanisms are very important,” said Prabowo, adding that several other countries, such as the UK, France and the European Union, have also asked to become ASEAN partner countries but are currently still being discussed.
Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto (center), delivers his remarks at the ASEAN Plus Defense Ministers’ Meeting in Jakarta, Thursday, November 16 2023. (Willy Kurniawan/Pool Photo via AP)
Seeing the increasingly complicated world geopolitical issues, including disputes in the South China Sea, Indonesia supports the addition of member countries. The conflict in the South China Sea in recent years has always sparked disputes between several countries. ASEAN continues to encourage efforts to create a code of conduct (COC) or a permanent procedure to avoid the possibility of misunderstandings or incidents that cause tension in the region.
Previously, ASEAN defense ministers also held separate meetings with United States Defense Minister Lloyd Austin and Japanese Defense Minister Munoru Kihara. Both meetings were held behind closed doors.
In a written statement issued after the entire meeting, Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto touched on ASEAN’s relations with America and Japan which have taken place at various levels, and the great contribution of the two countries in maintaining peace and prosperity in the region.
“It is important that there is continued engagement between ASEAN and the US to effectively address emerging challenges. “Regular dialogue, high-level visits and various information mechanisms play an important role in fostering trust, transparency and mutual understanding,” said Prabowo.
Japanese Minister of Defense Minoru Kihara (above), present virtually during the Informal Meeting of Defense Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Japan in Jakarta, Wednesday, November 15 2023. (AP/Dita Alangkara)
Security Observer from the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) Muhamad Haripin assessed that the meeting of ASEAN defense ministers and their partners contributed to strengthening coordination on security risk mitigation in Southeast Asia. Moreover, at the technical level, ADMM and ADMM Plus member countries also work together in many sectors, such as the defense and medical industries.
However, the existence of these two forums is considered to have not been completely successful in resolving the issue of maritime border disputes in the South China Sea. This is because ADMM is divided into two groups, those who want to discuss the problem and those who don’t. In fact, if you look at the potential threats in the next few years, ADMM also needs to pay attention to this issue, and it is possible to include America and China.
“ADMM can be a kind of ‘balancing mechanism’ between similar bilateral/multilateral forums initiated by the US or China. And so far that is the role played by ADMM. “In line with the challenges ahead, ADMM’s work seems to be even more needed in the region because of the existence of, for example, AUKUS, Quad, etc.,” said Haripin. (fw/em)