Joint Declaration of the ASEAN Defence Ministers on Strengthening Cooperation, Building Resilience

Joint Declaration of the ASEAN Defence Ministers on Strengthening Cooperation, Building Resilience


WE, the Defence Ministers of Brunei Darussalam, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand, and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, gathered here in Singapore on 19 October 2018 for the Twelfth ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (hereinafter referred to as “ADMM”);

RECOGNISING the growing uncertainty in the global landscape, including the increasing complexity of non-traditional and transnational security challenges confronting ASEAN;

INSPIRED by efforts to build a Resilient and Innovative ASEAN that is cohesive and effective in dealing with the emerging security challenges, and to keep ASEAN economically vibrant and dynamic;

RECALLING the ADMM Retreat in Singapore on 6 February 2018, as an expression of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ collective commitment to respond to these security challenges;

REAFFIRMING ASEAN’s purposes and principles as enshrined in the ASEAN Charter and Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, including maintaining ASEAN’s unity and centrality, and upholding a rules-based regional order with respect for international norms and laws;

UNDERSCORING the importance of the ADMM and ADMM-Plus as part of the region’s key security architecture, which provide platforms for strategic dialogue and practical cooperation for the defence sector;

WELCOMING the conduct of the ADMM-Plus on an annual basis, which further promotes dialogue and cooperation between ASEAN and its Plus Countries, with the end goal of strengthening ASEAN centrality in the regional security architecture while enhancing mutual trust and confidence among ASEAN and the Plus Countries to address common security threats, for the collective benefit of the region;

REAFFIRMING the ADMM’s commitment to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation as emphasised through the Joint Statement by the ASEAN Defence Ministers on Countering Terrorism in ASEAN issued on 6 February 2018 in parallel with the work of related ASEAN bodies;

EMPHASISING the commitment of all Parties to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), including through confidence-building measures and through practical maritime cooperation to promote peace and stability;

NOTING that ASEAN Member States and China had agreed on a Single Draft Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) Negotiating Text;

EMPHASISING the need to maintain a peaceful and stable cyberspace for ASEAN, through enhancing cyber security cooperation amongst ASEAN defence establishments;

WELCOMING positive development in the Korean Peninsula post Inter-Korean Summits and the Summit between United States of America President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and reiterating our support for the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula;

RECOGNISING the need for continued defence cooperation on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) to respond to natural disasters while reaffirming support for the implementation of the ASEAN Declaration on One ASEAN, One Response: ASEAN Responding to Disasters as One in the Region and Outside the Region;

COMMENDING the progress of ADMM initiatives, such as the Use of ASEAN Military Assets and Capacities in HADR, ASEAN Defence Establishments and Civil Society Organisations cooperation on Non-Traditional Security, ASEAN Peacekeeping Centres Network, ASEAN Defence Industry Collaboration, ADMM Logistics Support Framework, ASEAN Defence Interaction Programme, ASEAN Direct Communications Infrastructure, ASEAN Militaries Ready Group on HADR, ASEAN Center of Military Medicine, Guidelines for Maritime Interaction, and ADMM-Wide Education and Training Exchanges;

FURTHER COMMENDING the progress of practical cooperation under the ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Groups (EWGs) on Counter-Terrorism, HADR, Maritime Security, Military Medicine, Peacekeeping Operations, Humanitarian Mine Action, and Cyber Security;

EXPRESSING satisfaction that the ASEAN Member States’ militaries have achieved notable progress in building trust and confidence, and forging practical cooperation, namely through the ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces Informal Meeting and other ASEAN military dialogue and cooperative platforms;

NOTING the positive outcomes of the 11th Network of ASEAN Defence and Security Institutions (NADI) Meeting and welcoming NADI’s role in providing recommendations to the ADMM on addressing security challenges;



Intensify the ADMM’s efforts to promote regional peace and stability through strengthening cooperation and building resilience to effectively respond to current and future security challenges;

Deepen counter-terrorism cooperation among ASEAN defence establishments, and with our external partners, through dialogue, sharing of best practices, joint exercises and training, and exploring new forms of collaboration, including cross-sectoral cooperation, to build ASEAN capabilities in tackling the threat of terrorism complementing the work of ASEAN-related frameworks and mechanisms on counter-terrorism;

Welcome the “Resilience, Response, Recovery” (“3Rs”) Concept as a useful framework for guiding future ADMM and defence sectoral discussions on counter-terrorism initiatives and efforts;

Reaffirm the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation in and over-flight above the South China Sea, as well as the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities and avoid actions that could further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes, in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS);

Emphasise the importance of the full and effective implementation of the DOC in its entirety, and the conclusion of an effective COC on a mutually agreed timeline;

Reaffirm our commitment to abide by the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) and relevant international laws and regulations, in order to enhance operational safety, and avoid undesirable incidents at sea and encourage the crafting of the technical and operational parameters of the ADMM’s Guidelines for Maritime Interaction;

Explore cooperation in cyber security, which will promote trust and confidence within the ADMM and complement the work of ASEAN-related frameworks and mechanisms on cyber security;

Strengthen defence cooperation to tackle security challenges, while upholding the principles of respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, consensus-based decision making, flexible, voluntary, and non-binding contributions with assets remaining under national command and control;

Welcome the Establishment of a Virtual Network of ASEAN Chemical, Biological and Radiological (CBR) Defence Experts as outlined in its Concept Paper, which will strengthen the region’s collective capability and capacity to respond to CBR threats through the sharing of information and best practices;

Adopt the Guidelines for Air Military Encounters, and its Operational Annexes on Observing Existing Aviation Conventions and Rules, Safe and Professional Communications, Standard Flight Procedures, and Encouraging Mutual Trust and Confidence in the Air, which puts forth a set of voluntary guidelines that military aircraft can practise to enhance the safety and security of air lanes;

Adopt the “Our Eyes” Initiative as a platform for strategic information exchange amongst ASEAN Member States on terrorism, radicalism, and violent extremism, and other non-traditional threats in the region;

Adopt the Terms of Reference for the Military Representative to the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) for the ASEAN Militaries Ready Group on HADR (AMRG on HADR), which elaborates the purpose, scope, mechanisms, and functions of the designated Military Representative, as well as to specify the Military Representative’s responsibilities at the AHA Centre;

Reaffirm the ADMM-Plus as an open and inclusive arrangement, with ASEAN at the centre, that allows all ADMM-Plus countries to contribute equally to dialogue and cooperation on security issues;

Further strategic dialogue and enhance practical cooperation with the Plus Countries to address common security challenges, for the collective benefit of our region;

Adopt the Concept Paper on Observership of ADMM-Plus EWGs Activities, as a follow up to the 2nd Additional Protocol to the Concept Papers on the Establishment of the ADMM and ADMM-Plus;

Welcome the Joint Statement by the ADMM-Plus Defence Ministers on Preventing and Countering the Threat of Terrorism to be issued by the 5th ADMM-Plus on 20 October 2018, which reaffirms the ADMM-Plus’ commitment to strengthen regional cooperation and undertake effective measures to counter terrorism;

Welcome the Joint Statement by the ADMM-Plus Defence Ministers on Practical Confidence-Building Measures to be issued by the 5th ADMM-Plus on 20 October 2018, to reduce the risks of miscalculations and ensure the safety and security of the sea and air lanes which are critical for our region’s continued development and prosperity;

Welcome the conduct of the ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise in 2018, and intention to conduct the ASEAN-United States Maritime Exercise in 2019, which will enhance friendship and confidence between ASEAN Member States’ Navies and the People’s Liberation Army Navy and the United States Navy;

Welcome the formalisation of the ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces Informal Meeting, where the ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces Formal Meeting will take stock of all military interactions among ASEAN Member States for reporting to the ADMM through the ASEAN Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting (ADSOM);

Welcome Thailand’s ASEAN Chairmanship and its hosting of the 13thth ADMM and the 6th ADMM-Plus in 2019.


DONE in Singapore, on the Nineteenth Day of October in the Year Two Thousand and Eighteen, in a single original copy in the English language.


For Brunei Darussalam:


Minister of Defence II



For the Kingdom of Cambodia:

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense



For the Republic of Indonesia:

Minister of Defence



For the Lao People’s Democratic Republic:

Minister of National Defence



For Malaysia:

Minister of Defence



For the Republic of the Union of Myanmar:

Union Minister for Defence



For the Republic of the Philippines:

Secretary of National Defense





For the Republic of Singapore:

Minister for Defence



For the Kingdom of Thailand:

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence



For the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam:

Minister of National Defence

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