Singapore's Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen chaired the 12th ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) and 5th ADMM-Plus in Singapore on 19 and 20 October 2018 respectively. Speaking to the media after the conclusion of the ADMM-Plus, Dr Ng expressed appreciation for the strong support from the ADMM-Plus countries which contributed to the success of the 12th ADMM and 5th ADMM-Plus. Dr Ng said, "I am happy to report as Chair of the 5th ADMM-Plus and the 12th ADMM that all Ministers felt that we have made significant progress on deliverables that were given to Singapore as Chair." This included substantive discussions on as well as the adoption of initiatives in three focus areas, such as (1) the "Our Eyes" Initiative for strategic information sharing and the "3Rs" – Resilience, Response and Recovery – concept of counter-terrorism; (2) a new network of ASEAN chemical, biological, and radiological defence experts to share best practices and make quick contact during crises; and (3) the adoption of the Guidelines for Air Military Encounters (GAME) by the ADMM, to which the Plus countries are in-principle supportive. On GAME, Dr Ng said, "We are very happy that the ADMM agreed on the guidelines and operational annexes, as well as the Plus partners all agreeing in principle and now are studying the adoption of the guidelines for themselves." Dr Ng also welcomed the issuance of two Joint Statements on Preventing and Countering the Threat of Terrorism and Practical Confidence-Building Measures by the 5th ADMM-Plus. The Joint Statements mark the first time since 2013 that the ADMM-Plus has issued joint outcome documents.
Alongside the 5th ADMM-Plus, Dr Ng highlighted that the ASEAN Defence Ministers also stepped up cooperation with its Plus partners through the conduct of three informal meetings with the United States (US), China, and Japan, and welcomed various initiatives to enhance defence cooperation such as the ASEAN-US and ASEAN-China Maritime Exercises. Dr Ng also welcomed the operationalisation of the observership programme for the ADMM-Plus Experts' Working Group activities, which would allow the non-Plus countries to share expertise and experience to raise ASEAN Member States' capacities to address regional security challenges. Dr Ng also highlighted the valuable opportunities the ADMM-Plus provides for bilateral meetings on the sidelines, including one between the US and China.
On the sidelines of the 5th ADMM-Plus, Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean met Indian Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman, and Malaysian Minister of Defence Mohamad Sabu, where they reaffirmed Singapore's friendly defence relationships with these countries. DPM Teo will host GEN Wei to dinner later this evening.
Dr Ng also had bilateral meetings with New Zealand Minister of Defence Ron Mark, Republic of Korea Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo, and Russia Minister of Defence GEN Sergei Shoigu, where they reaffirmed friendly bilateral defence ties. Dr Ng will host Minister Sitharaman to dinner later this evening.