April 27, 2016 –
Translated by J. Arnoldski
The first informal meeting of the ministers of defense of Russia and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member countries took place on April 26th in Moscow. Sergey Shoigu discussed the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and approaches to ensuring regional security and the development of cooperation in the military sphere with his Southeast Asian colleagues.
Increasing multilateral cooperation with the “dozen” countries of Southeast Asia is one of Russia’s priorities. The informal meeting was an important contribution to preparations for the commemorative Russia-ASEAN summit set to take place in Sochi in May. Shoigu outlined the views of the Russian Ministry of Defense on key challenges and threats in the Asia-Pacific region and put forth proposals for developing multilateral and bilateral cooperation with the ASEAN countries in a number of areas of mutual interest.
The heads of the ASEAN military delegations expressed gratitude for Russia’s contribution to strengthening security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region as well as expressed interest in encouraging Russia’s further efforts in this area. Bilateral talks were held between Shoigu and each of the ASEAN colleagues, whose members include Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Papua New Guinea (which has a special observer status).
Shoigu gave the following statement: “We are grateful for the suggestions on possible paths for strengthening Russia’s role in regional affairs. Our approaches to the settlement of international conflicts and countering new challenges and threats, first and foremost terrorism, coincide.
We positively assess the general attitude towards the development of cooperation in the military spheres. I believe that the expansion of military ties based on Russian-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) cooperation meets not only the interests of our countries, but also the interests of the whole Asia-Pacific region.
Today, we were able to outline some directions for the further development of mutually beneficial cooperation. First and foremost, this includes counter-terrorism, maritime security, the elimination of the consequences of natural and man-made disasters, military medicine, and humanitarian de-mining.”