Defense ministers tackle terrorism, extremism ahead of formal Asean confab
CLARK FREEPORT – Defense Ministers from Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and United States would join the two-day high-level regional security agency forum here with their counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) on October 23 and 24.
The Philippines is hosting the 11th Asean Defense Ministers Meeting (ADMM) and 4th ADMM Plus in Clark Field, Pampanga, almost 100 kilometers north of Manila.
The ADMM countries include 10 Asean member states—Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The ADMM-Plus, the Asean meeting with non-member countries, is held every two or three years.
“It is an honor to facilitate today’s meeting of the ADMM, the highest platform for Asean defense establishments. I am honored to chair this year’s meeting especially on this year of Asean’s 50th anniversary,” Lorenzana said in his welcome remarks at the opening ceremony of ADMM on Monday.
At a “special breakfast meeting” with his Asean counterparts prior the ceremony, Lorenzana said they discussed the challenge of terrorism and extremism in Southeast Asia.
“Our breakfast meeting is an indicator of robust state of defense cooperation among Asean member states as we have substantive talks even before the ADMM,” he said.
The meeting took place as the country’s security forces try to declare the end of the five-month siege in Marawi City located at the southern part of the archipelago.
As of Sunday, government forces were clearing the last building in Marawi City. About 30 terrorists and their families are reportedly still in the main battle area.
The ADMM chairmanship will be turned over to Singapore on Tuesday. /kga