Defence ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on Thursday began their annual meeting, this time in Bangkok, with security threats, the disputed South China Sea and North Korea high on the agenda.
Defence Ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantrawanich said the 10 ministers were discussing both internal security cooperation and regional issues, especially cooperation in tackling security threats and combating terrorism.
The ministers were set to adopt the terms of references tied to the “Our Eyes” initiative for sharing strategic information on terrorism and other non-traditional security threats.
Mr Kongcheep said the South China Sea row is high on the agenda as it affects regional stability and some members were involved in the dispute.
According to a draft of the joint declaration expected to be issued after the meeting, the ministers will reaffirm their stance calling on concerned parties to solve the sea dispute with peaceful means under international law.
The North Korea issue will also be raised since Asea hopes for a further easing of tensions on the peninsula following the latest summit between the US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to the spokesman.
Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam. Kyodo