Australia — Intervention at the Inaugural ASEAN-Plus Defence Ministers’ Meeting

Mr Chair­man, Sec­re­tary-Gen­er­al, Min­is­te­r­i­al col­leagues.
I thank the Gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of Viet­nam for host­ing this inau­gur­al Meet­ing and con­grat­u­late the peo­ple of Hanoi on its 1000th anniver­sary.

ASEAN was estab­lished in 1967 to accel­er­ate eco­nom­ic growth, social progress and cul­tur­al devel­op­ment, and pro­mote peace and sta­bil­i­ty in our region.

Aus­tralia has long sup­port­ed ASEAN and its relat­ed forums.

Aus­tralia has long sup­port­ed the objec­tives of eco­nom­ic pros­per­i­ty and peace and sta­bil­i­ty in our region.

Aus­tralia became ASEAN’s first dia­logue part­ner in 1974, and we are very pleased to have been invit­ed, along with sev­en oth­er ASEAN dia­logue part­ners, to be an inau­gur­al mem­ber of the ASEAN-Plus Defence Min­is­ters’ Meet­ing.

The cre­ation of the ASEAN-Plus Defence Min­sters’ Meet­ing – which includes the mem­ber­ship of the East Asia Sum­mit and the Unit­ed States and Rus­sia – means the region has tak­en a most sig­nif­i­cant step towards meet­ing its peace and secu­ri­ty chal­lenges.

Mr Chair­man, Aus­tralia believes that ASEAN-Plus Defence Min­is­ters should take the broad view of what secu­ri­ty means in the mod­ern day.

This needs to include not just tra­di­tion­al secu­ri­ty chal­lenges, but new and emerg­ing non-tra­di­tion­al secu­ri­ty chal­lenges – like ter­ror­ism and dis­as­ter relief – which give rise to new chal­lenges for nations and regions alike.

Aus­tralia is com­mit­ted to address­ing all these secu­ri­ty chal­lenges, draw­ing upon all ele­ments of nation­al pow­er, in coop­er­a­tion and part­ner­ship with our friends and neigh­bours through this forum.

Mar­itime Secu­ri­ty

The estab­lish­ment of the ASEAN –Plus Defence Min­is­ters’ Meet­ing offers real oppor­tu­ni­ties for prac­ti­cal coop­er­a­tion. As a mar­itime nation, Aus­tralia is par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in the need and the poten­tial for region­al coop­er­a­tion in mar­itime secu­ri­ty.

For many of us here, our nation­al secu­ri­ty is close­ly linked to mar­itime secu­ri­ty. As well, our nation­al pros­per­i­ty depends on the secu­ri­ty and sta­bil­i­ty of the oceans, seas and straits.

Eight of Australia’s top ten trad­ing part­ners sit around this table today. All rely on mar­itime trade for both nation­al well-being and the col­lec­tive sta­bil­i­ty of our region. As well, it is in our col­lec­tive inter­est to look at ways through which we can coop­er­ate and coor­di­nate in using our mar­itime resources to respond to the all-too-fre­quent require­ments of human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance and dis­as­ter relief. Mov­ing peo­ple and relief sup­plies quick­ly in response to con­tin­gen­cies, such as Aus­tralia has recent­ly done in Pak­istan, will con­tin­ue to be a task crit­i­cal to our region.

Just as, for exam­ple, will con­tin­ue coop­er­a­tion in coun­ter­ing pira­cy.

As well, in our region and beyond there are a range of unre­solved ter­ri­to­r­i­al dis­putes, includ­ing mar­itime dis­putes, whether in the South Chi­na Sea or else­where.
Where these occur, Aus­tralia wants to see these issues resolved ami­ca­bly and peace­ful­ly between the par­ties con­cerned in accor­dance with inter­na­tion­al law, and in a way which ensures region­al sta­bil­i­ty. Region­al diplo­ma­cy can often assist in such ben­e­fi­cial out­comes.

Aus­tralia regards the pro­posed ASEAN Code of Con­duct as a good start­ing point in this respect.

Mr Chair­man, this forum can con­tribute to greater prac­ti­cal mar­itime coop­er­a­tion and under­stand­ing, fos­ter­ing a pos­i­tive and con­struc­tive dia­logue and find­ing solu­tions to mar­itime chal­lenges as they emerge.

This is why Aus­tralia has indi­cat­ed its will­ing­ness to co-chair the Expert Work­ing Group on Mar­itime Secu­ri­ty.

Counter-Ter­ror­ism

Mr Chair­man, ter­ror­ism remains an issue of great con­cern to Aus­tralia and to our region. Over 100 Aus­tralians and many more from our region have been killed by ter­ror­ists in attacks over the last decade.

We have made progress. Great strides have been tak­en in our region to com­bat the threat of ter­ror­ism. For exam­ple, Indone­sia, the Philip­pines, Malaysia and Sin­ga­pore have made great strides in com­bat­ing the extrem­ist Islamist group known as Jemaah Islamiyah.

This has made the region a safer place for all of us.

But we can­not be com­pla­cent. As last year’s dead­ly attacks in Jakar­ta showed, ter­ror­ists remain resilient and adapt­able. Even small groups can inflict great harm.

Ear­li­er this year Aus­tralia released a Counter-Ter­ror­ism White Paper, set­ting out our approach to com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism, both domes­ti­cal­ly and inter­na­tion­al­ly. Region­al coop­er­a­tion is crit­i­cal to both the nation­al and inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty response.

This forum has great poten­tial to sup­port our approach to coun­ter­ing ter­ror­ism. The shar­ing of infor­ma­tion enables us to coor­di­nate the pro­tec­tion of our cit­i­zens, build­ing links and rela­tion­ships we can draw upon when pre­vent­ing, or respond­ing to attacks.

Most impor­tant­ly, this forum can be part of the vital work of build­ing a flex­i­ble, resilient and mutu­al­ly-sup­port­ive region­al com­mu­ni­ty com­mit­ted to peace, sta­bil­i­ty and tol­er­ance. Peace­keep­ing

Mr Chair­man, Aus­tralia also high­lights the oppor­tu­ni­ty to great­ly increase our coop­er­a­tion in the field of peace­keep­ing.

The nations around this table are increas­ing­ly con­tribut­ing sig­nif­i­cant­ly to Unit­ed Nations peace­keep­ing oper­a­tions around the world – Brunei, Cam­bo­dia, Chi­na, India, Indone­sia and Korea all have troops com­mit­ted to the Unit­ed Nations Inter­im Force in Lebanon, while India, Japan, Korea, the Philip­pines and the US have com­mit­ted troops to the Unit­ed Nations mis­sion in Haiti.

As part of our broad­er sup­port to the Unit­ed Nations, Aus­tralia has a long-stand­ing and proud tra­di­tion of sup­port­ing peace­keep­ing oper­a­tions where we are able. I can­not fore­see a less­en­ing need to sup­port the Unit­ed Nations’ oper­a­tions into the future. In recent times, Aus­tralia has also helped to build and facil­i­tate peace­keep­ing capac­i­ty and capa­bil­i­ty among nations in our own region.

The ASEAN-Plus Defence Min­is­ters’ Meet­ing presents a time­ly oppor­tu­ni­ty to share our expe­ri­ences and lessons in this field, to devel­op coor­di­nat­ed region­al respons­es to emerg­ing crises and to explore how we can sup­port each oth­er as we con­tribute to these impor­tant mis­sions.

In the last two years, Aus­tralia has worked close­ly with Malaysia in par­tic­u­lar to help build the region’s peace­keep­ing capac­i­ty – an effort we are com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing.

Con­clud­ing Remarks

Mr Chair­man, the estab­lish­ment of this most impor­tant region­al insti­tu­tion pro­vides an oppor­tu­ni­ty to move our region­al secu­ri­ty coop­er­a­tion beyond human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance and dis­as­ter relief. It allows us to coop­er­a­tive­ly tack­le the emerg­ing peace, sta­bil­i­ty and secu­ri­ty chal­lenges that will inevitably arise in the years to come.

The ASEAN-Plus Defence Min­is­ters’ Meet­ing has a crit­i­cal role to play in that coop­er­a­tion. Aus­tralia is both hon­oured and pleased to be a part of this his­toric meet­ing, inau­gu­rat­ing this impor­tant peace and secu­ri­ty forum.

Thank you.

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →