Second Minister for Defence Mr Ong Ye Kung is in Russia from 3 to 5 April 2018 to attend the 7th Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS). Held annually, the MCIS brings together high-level defence, military and foreign affairs leaders from around the world to discuss a range of security issues.
Mr Ong spoke today at the plenary session titled "Asia: Regional Security Aspects" alongside six other speakers: Vietnamese Minister of National Defence General (GEN) Ngo Xuan Lich, Mongolian Minister of Defense Nyamaagiin Enkhbold, Sri Lankan Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Kapila Waidyaratne, Indonesian Director-General of Defence Strategy Brigadier-General Mohammad Nakir, Russian Armed Forces First Deputy Chief of the General Staff Igor Kostyukov, Russian Ambassador-at-large Oleg Burmistov.
In his remarks, Mr Ong highlighted that ASEAN played a critical and relevant role in the region's security, in view of the disparate and transnational nature of evolving security threats. Elaborating, Mr Ong said "Guided by our historical position, ASEAN operates on the principles of openness, consultation, consensus, and non-interference. Our traits include a steadfast commitment toward engaging all parties in constructive dialogue, and objectivity on global issues. ASEAN avoids taking sides across ideological divides and this continues to define our approach toward regional and global engagement. Because of these, ASEAN serves as a non-threatening and neutral platform for engagement amongst global powers with a stake in the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific." He also cited platforms such as the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM), ADMM-Plus and the ASEAN Regional Forum, and emphasised that, "Every ASEAN member state plays a part to progressively strengthen our regional institution. Singapore does our part in hosting the Shangri-La Dialogue, a key defence and security conference in the region, for countries to exchange views on regional security matters."
Underscoring Singapore's efforts to address regional security challenges, Mr Ong shared that as ASEAN Chair this year, Singapore will continue to push for progress in the negotiations for a South China Sea Code of Conduct between ASEAN and China, as well as develop and promulgate practical confidence building measures and code for unplanned encounters in the maritime and aviation domains amongst ADMM-Plus members.
As the 2018 ASEAN Chair, Singapore will also chair the ADMM and ADMM-Plus meetings. This is the second time that Singapore is chairing the ADMM since its establishment in 2006. Singapore is also the ASEAN-China Country Coordinator from 2015 to 2018.