INDONESIA: During the 17th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) convened on Wednesday (15 Nov), the ASEAN Defence Ministers collectively endorsed the Jakarta Joint Declaration of the ADMM for Peace, Prosperity, and Security.
This significant declaration reaffirms the ADMM’s steadfast dedication to bolstering defense cooperation among ASEAN Member States and Plus countries. The primary aim is to effectively tackle regional security challenges while upholding the core principles of ASEAN centrality and unity.
In particular focus on the South China Sea, the declaration underscores the paramount importance of preserving peace, stability, safety, and the unhindered freedom of navigation. It strongly advocates for the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with established international law, notably referencing UNCLOS 1982.
Recognizing the delicacy surrounding activities in the South China Sea, the ministers underscored the necessity for exercising restraint. Their emphasis was on avoiding actions that could exacerbate disputes, thereby safeguarding regional peace and stability.
The meeting, chaired by Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, focused on enhancing regional defense and security cooperation.
Minister Prabowo Subianto inaugurated and presided over the 17th ADMM at the Jakarta Convention Center on Wednesday (15 Nov), automatically assuming the Chairmanship of both the 17th ADMM and the 10th ADMM-Plus.
The theme for Indonesia’s Chairmanship in ADMM 2023 is “Peace, Prosperity, and Security,” emphasizing the interconnectedness of peace, prosperity, and security as the foundation for regional stability.
Timor Leste participated as an observer, represented by Defense Minister Prof. Donaciano Do Costa Gomes.
The Jakarta Joint Declaration unveiled at ADMM for mutual defense and security
The meeting produced a significant outcome in the form of a joint declaration named the “Jakarta Joint Declaration,” comprising 17 points addressing mutual defense and security challenges.
The declaration underscores a commitment to strengthening defense and security cooperation among ASEAN member states and ADMM-Plus countries in effectively responding to regional security challenges.
The ministers pledged to uphold the central principles of ASEAN, emphasizing consensus-based decision-making for the preservation of peace, prosperity, and security.
In response to the post-COVID-19 regional landscape, the ministers agreed to enhance defense cooperation for regional resilience, as outlined in a joint statement on defense cooperation against infectious diseases and the Phnom Penh Vision.
The declaration also explores collaboration possibilities in areas such as Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), military medicine, energy, and food security.
The ministers further expressed support for cross-pillar and sectoral coordination, exploring all possibilities for cooperation under ASEAN’s three main pillars: political security, economic, and socio-cultural.
South China Sea security emphasized
Addressing regional security in the South China Sea, the declaration emphasizes the importance of maintaining peace, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation, urging peaceful dispute resolution in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS 1982.
Acknowledging the sensitive nature of activities in the South China Sea, the ministers emphasized restraint to avoid complicating disputes and impacting regional peace and stability.
The declaration highlighted the effective and substantive conclusion of a Code of Conduct (COC) in line with international law, including UNCLOS 1982, while stressing the overall effective implementation of the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) in the South China Sea.
The ministers recognized the implementation of the five-point consensus agreed upon in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on 11 November 2022, to facilitate the restoration of peace and stability in Myanmar, transitioning towards a peaceful normalcy.
10th ADMM-Plus set for Thursday
In the final point, the participants unanimously designated Laos as the Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2024, with Laos hosting the meetings of defense ministers from member states.
The two-day forum, the 17th ADMM and the 10th ADMM-Plus convened on Wednesday (15 Nov) and Thursday (16 Nov).
On the first day, defence ministers from ASEAN member state, including Brunei Darussalam’s Dato Paduka Seri Haji Awang Halbi bin Haji Mohammad Yossuf, Cambodia’s HE General Tea Seiha, Laos’ General Chansamone Chanyalath, Malaysia’s YB Dato’ Seri Utama Haji Mohamad bin Haji Hasan, Philippines’s Atty Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr, Singapore’s Dr Ng Eng Hen, Thailand’s Sutin Klangsang, Vietnam’s General Phan Van Giang, and Timor-Leste’s Donaciano Do Rosario Da Costa Gomez, along with ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn, attended.
The second day will see the participation of defense ministers from partner countries or ADMM-Plus nations.
The joint declaration reflects a commitment to fostering regional peace, prosperity, and security through enhanced cooperation, dialogue, and coordination among ASEAN member states and their partners.