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ASEAN defence ministers create secure crisis hotline

Update: November, 04/2015 - 08:50
Defence ministers from ASEAN countries pose ahead of their meeting during the ASEAN Defence Ministers' meeting in Subang, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Malaysia is hosting the ASEAN Defence Ministers meeting and retreat from November 2 to 5. — AFP/VNA Photo

KUALA LUMPUR (VNS) — Southeast Asian defence ministers yesterday established a hotline to enable them to communicate "securely and swiftly" in a crisis situation.

The ministers from the 10 countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) witnessed the signing ceremony with the vendor for the "direct communication link" initiative on the sidelines of their retreat in Subang, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, told reporters at a press conference.

"This initiative was mooted by the Sultan of Brunei a few years back and today we saw the actual signing by the vendor," the minister who chaired the meeting said, adding that having the direct and secure communication method in place will prevent "emotional" or "irrational" behaviour from spiralling out of control and affecting peace in the region.

The Vietnamese delegation is led by Admiral Nguyen Van Hien, Deputy Minister of Defence.

Viet Nam and other ASEAN member countries shared regional security issues at the meeting yesterday, Major General Vu Tien Trong, Director of the Institute for Defence International Relations, told reporters after the event.

The ministers particularly touched upon cyber security and navigation security and safety in the East Sea, he said.

They agreed that any disputes in the East Sea must be addressed in line with international law and regional commitments such as the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and ASEAN's six-point principles on the East Sea .

It is necessary to move towards the building of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) between ASEAN and China, they said.

Maj Gen Trong said Viet Nam proposed evaluations on ASEAN collaboration over the past 10 years as well as a new cooperation roadmap for the next decade.

The ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting will follow, with a biennial meeting with their counterparts from Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States in a process known as the ADMM-plus meeting taking place today.

The defence ministers' meeting comes as China is fuming over what was seen as a provocative act by the United States last week, after it sent navy destroyer USS Lassen within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands that China has built on Subi Reef in the Spratly Islands.

Japan hails US actions

Japan expressed its backing yesterday for the actions taken by the US.

Japanese Defence Minister Gen Nakatani voiced his support to US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter as the pair met on the sidelines of the defence ministers' meeting.

Nakatani's statement to Carter echoes the Japanese government's previously expressed position that the sailing of US Navy destroyer Lassen within 12 nautical miles of Chinese land reclamation developments in the Spratly Islands last week was permitted under international law. — KYODO/VNS

Defence ministers from ASEAN countries pose ahead of their meeting during the ASEAN Defence Ministers' meeting in Subang, on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Malaysia is hosting the ASEAN Defence Ministers meeting and retreat from November 2 to 5. — AFP/VNA Photo

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