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Minister for Defence to attend second ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus



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Minister for Defence - Stephen Smith

Minister for Defence to attend second ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus

28 August 2013

Today, Wednesday 28 August, I depart Australia for Brunei Darussalam to attend the

second ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus).

The ADMM-Plus brings together Defence Ministers from the 10 member states of the

Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the eight ‘Plus’ countries of the

East Asia Summit, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of

Korea, Russia and the United States.

The ADMM-Plus builds on the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting, which was

established in 2006 by ASEAN and is the Defence Ministers’ Meeting format equivalent

of the East Asia Summit. It provides a forum for key regional partners to discuss peace

and security cooperation, build stability and promote greater practical defence

cooperation among the 18 nations.

I attended the inaugural ADMM-Plus in October 2010 in Hanoi, Vietnam, with Australia

as a founding member. In recognition of its growing significance as part of the Indo-Pacific regional architecture, Defence Ministers last year agreed to increase the

frequency of the ADMM-Plus from every three years to every two years effective from

this year’s meeting.

The ADMM-Plus fosters practical defence-to-defence and military-to-military cooperation

in counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, military medicine,

maritime security and peacekeeping operations.

Practical cooperation under the ADMM-Plus occurs formally through Experts’ Working

Groups (EWGs). Australia is an active participant in the EWGs and currently co-chairs

the Maritime Security EWG with Malaysia.

Three significant military exercises occur under the ADMM-Plus framework during this

year.

A Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Military Medicine Exercise was held

in Brunei Darussalam in June, and a Counter-Terrorism Exercise will be held in

Indonesia on 9-13 September.

On 29 September - 1 October, Australia will host a Maritime Security Field Training

Exercise in the vicinity of Jervis Bay and the East Australian Exercise Area. This will

involve representatives and ships from 14 of the 18 ADMM-Plus member states. This is

a significant demonstration of the practical military cooperation that occurs under the

auspices of ADMM-Plus.

As the 2013 Australian Defence White Paper notes, the Indo-Pacific region has

benefitted from a long period of peace, stability and security by encouraging dialogue,

cooperation and confidence building.

ASEAN has played a central role in generating stability in the region. The ADMM-Plus

represents an important addition to the strategic architecture of the Indo-Pacific and

provides a mechanism for enhancing the habits of cooperation that underpin regional

security.

Australia has long been a reliable partner of ASEAN and an active participant in ASEAN-related meetings, including the ASEAN Regional Forum and the East Asia Summit.

Australia became ASEAN’s first Dialogue Partner in 1974 and the 40th Anniversary of

ASEAN Australia dialogue relations will be celebrated in 2014.

In ongoing recognition of Australia’s important relationship with ASEAN, last month

Australia announced the appointment of Mr Simon Merrifield as Australia’s first resident

Ambassador to ASEAN. His appointment begins next month in Jakarta.

I will be joined at the ADMM-Plus by the Deputy Secretary Strategy of the Department of

Defence, Mr Brendan Sargeant, and the Commander of Joint Operations for the

Australian Defence Force, Lieutenant General Ash Power.

I will also take the opportunity to conduct bilateral discussions with regional partners.

Given the timing of the meeting, as a matter of courtesy I have advised the Shadow

Minister for Defence, Senator David Johnston of my attendance at the meeting.

Media contacts:

Mr Smith’s office: Sacha Fenton (02) 6277 7800 or 0467 784 528

Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999