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Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen spoke on the US-China relationship, the importance of a rules-based order and the role of ASEAN as a regional security platform at the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD).
How can countries cooperate to keep our waterways safe and open? Navies from 18 ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)-Plus nations spent two weeks working together to test their responses in a maritime security crisis.
"It is essential that all players work together to arrive at a new equilibrium. This necessarily involves give-and-take on all sides.
"It is essential for our military leaders to build rapport, understanding and confidence through interactions at various levels...to build personal ties which can prove very useful (in) de-escalating tensions and preventing miscalculations."
With a combined total of 25 million troops across the 10 ASEAN and the eight ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM)-Plus countries, the grouping accounts for a significant percentage of the world's military forces.
The 10 ASEAN defence ministers have signed off on the world's first multilateral Guidelines for Air Military Encounters (GAME) to improve the operational safety of air lanes.
The new code applies to unplanned encounters between military aircraft over high seas and describes the need for communicating appropriately, maintaining a safe distance and avoiding reckless manoeuvres.
The operationalisation of hotlines to respond to maritime emergencies, the launch of a Direct Communications Infrastructure among ASEAN establishments, and an agreement to expand the Code for Unplanned Encounters to all ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM)-Plus countries this November.
As Singapore chairs the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) in 2018, PIONEER looks at how far the group has come and what to expect in the coming year.
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