Summit It’s worth noting that this marked the jubilee 10th meeting of defence ministers.
Defense ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) convened in Jakarta on Thursday as part of the ADMM+ summit to discuss the security situation in the region, as reported by Sarbaz.kz, citing The Sun.
Chaired by the Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, the meeting saw the welcoming of their counterpart from East Timor, Donasiano Da Costa Gomes, acknowledging the country's first participation in the ADMM+ series as an observer.
Opening the annual meeting, Indonesia’s Defence Minister, Prabowo Subianto, expressed deep concern over the deteriorating situation in Gaza—the world's largest Muslim country, especially the "horrific" humanitarian crisis. ASEAN defence ministers called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza amid Israeli attacks and efforts to de-escalate the conflict between the military junta and armed groups in Myanmar's Shan state.
Malaysian Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan expressed satisfaction with the outcomes of the two-day 17th ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) and the 10th ADMM-Plus meeting, where the security interests of the ASEAN region were discussed.
"Each state expressed concerns specific to their region. Malaysia focused on the South China Sea due to our maritime status and maintaining a strong position in supporting open and free passage for all. We emphasised the importance of respecting international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982," said Mohamad.
He believed that ASEAN+, as a platform for collective problem-solving, would enable joint efforts to address the complexities in the South China Sea. China has actively asserted its claims over disputed islands in the South China Sea, deploying proxy fleets of fishing vessels and coastguards. For instance, the Chinese coastguard regularly denies entry of Philippine supply ships to their base on the Second Thomas Shoal, a disputed island in the Spratlys.
During the ADMM+ meeting, Mohamad reaffirmed Malaysia's condemnation of terrorism and civilian casualties, especially women and children, in Gaza.
"We want everyone to de-escalate, step back, negotiate a ceasefire, and adopt the resolution passed by the United Nations on October 27," he said regarding the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel in Gaza.
Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto emphasized the exceptional importance of ASEAN countries in maintaining peace and stability for the well-being of people in the region.
"Without peace and stability, it is impossible to attract investments, develop trade, and ensure the prosperity of our people and societies. Peace and security are the fundamental building blocks of economic prosperity and social progress," said Subianto to the ASEAN defence ministers gathered at the summit.
ADMM+ fosters practical cooperation among member states through its seven Expert Working Groups (EWGs), namely maritime security, military medicine, cybersecurity, peacekeeping operations, counter-terrorism, humanitarian mine action, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR). The meeting also saw the participation of defence ministers from seven ASEAN partner countries, including Australia, Japan, India, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia, and China.