JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.94

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4th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting - Plus

4th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting - Plus

From October 22nd to 25th, Minister of Defense Onodera attended the 4th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) and the 3rd ASEAN-Japan Defence Ministers’ Informal Meeting, and held meetings with the defense ministers of countries represented at the ADMM-Plus.

1. The 4th ADMM-Plus (October 24th)

1. The 4th ADMM-Plus was held with the Minister-level participants from the 10 ASEAN Member States and 8 Plus-countries. At the meeting, participants exchanged their views on security issues in the region.

2. Minister Onodera stated that the nuclear tests and repeated missile launches conducted by North Korea are direct challenges to the international community and pose an unprecedented and imminent threat. Minister Onodera underscored that the international community needs to stand in solidarity and give maximum pressure to North Korea.

3. Regarding maritime issues, Minister Onodera pointed out that attempts to change the status-quo unilaterally by coercion based on its own unique claim have become a concern on the prosperity in the region, and underlined that Japan is taking actions which contributes to free and open seas.

4. Minister Onodera also stated that natural disaster is a serious risk to the stability in the region and emphasized that Japan has been working on the promotion of regional cooperation regarding humanitarian assistance and disaster relief under the framework of ADMM-Plus and that Japan is going to take even more active role.

5. Other participants touched upon topics such as achievements and future directions under the framework of ADMM-Plus, the situation of the Korean Peninsula, peaceful maritime conflict solving including South China Sea issues and averting collision at sea, and the necessity of cooperation for counter-terrorism.

2. The 3rd ASEAN-Japan Defence Ministers’ Informal Meeting (October 23rd)

1. Defense Minister Onodera looked back on last year’s announcement of the “Vientiane Vision,” and confirmed the importance of the meeting which provides momentum to strengthen Japan-ASEAN defense cooperation.

2. Japan and ASEAN shared the recognition that Japan-ASEAN defense cooperation has become even more important in ensuring regional peace and stability, as the regional security challenges have become diverse and complex, including the current situation in North Korea and the maritime situation in the East and South China Seas.

3. Defense Minister Onodera stated that he would like to continue to deepen the cooperation based on the “Vientiane Vision”. ASEAN welcomed and supported the vision, and agreed to further promote Japan-ASEAN defense cooperation.

4th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting - Plus

3. Bilateral and Trilateral Talks

Defense Minister Onodera held a trilateral meeting and bilateral meetings as follows:

1. Japan-U.S. Defense Ministerial Meeting (Secretary of Defense James Mattis)

4th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting - Plus

Minister Onodera and Secretary Mattis shared information on the situation of nuclear and missile development by North Korea and agreed to ensure the best defense posture. They confirmed to promote closer cooperation on operational side and on introduction of new BMD assets. Secretary Mattis renewed strong determination on defense of Japan including commitment for extended deterrence. Also, the Ministers confirmed that they will coordinate closely on future measures, continue to exert pressure on North Korea in a tangible way and advance close trilateral cooperation among Japan, the U.S. and ROK. In addition, the Ministers agreed that they will continuously keep paying attention to the situation of the East China Sea and cooperate for its peace and stability, and advance defense cooperation with South-East Asian countries in light of the situation of the South China Sea.

2. Japan-U.S.-ROK Defense Ministerial Meeting (Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo)

4th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting - Plus

The three Ministers condemned, in the strongest terms, North Korea’s continued provocative actions. The three Ministers lauded collective efforts to enhance response capabilities, including the execution of multiple combined flight training missions with U.S. bomber aircraft. They also committed to continue missile warning and anti-submarine warfare exercises. Moreover, the three Ministers pledged to take necessary steps to bolster their ability to improve information sharing and strengthen responses to North Korean threats. Finally, the three Ministers pledged to actively cooperate to support diplomatic-led efforts to resolve North Korean nuclear issue through maximum pressure on North Korea, and decided to continue holding consultations on security issues, as well as affirmed their strong commitment to promoting security cooperation among the three countries.

3. Japan-Republic of Korea Defense Ministerial Meeting (Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo)

4th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting - Plus

The two Ministers confirmed once again that it is important that Japan and ROK as well as Japan, ROK and the U.S. further increase pressure on and send a strong message to North Korea to deter repeated provocations, and that they will continue to closely cooperate on the North Korea’s nuclear and missile issues. Furthermore, the two Ministers exchanged their views on Japan-ROK defense cooperation and exchanges, and agreed to steadily implement concrete cooperation and exchange programs such as personnel exchanges and mutual visits of vessels and aircraft, and to advance cooperation, both based on good bilateral cooperation.

4. Japan-Australia Defense Ministerial Meeting (Minister of Defence Marise Payne)

4th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting - Plus

The two Ministers exchanged views to further deepen bilateral defense cooperation based on the “Special Strategic Partnership.” The two Ministers agreed to closely work together in order to deter North Korea’s repeated and excessively provocative actions. With regard to the situation surrounding South China Sea, the two Ministers also agreed that Japan, Australia and the U.S. secure the presence in the region and strengthen cooperation with countries in the region. The two Ministers welcomed the deepening of the bilateral defense cooperation, and agreed to more firmly develop our bilateral defense cooperation. The two Ministers also agreed to continue to strengthen trilateral defense cooperation among Japan, Australia and the U.S.

5. Japan-Philippines Defense Ministerial Meeting (Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana)

4th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting - Plus

Minister Onodera states that, as strategic partners with common principles and goals, he would like to further deepen their cooperation. Minister Onodera also told, regarding TC-90 transfer, that those aircraft will be granted instead of lease. On East and South China Sea, Minister Onodera stated that he would like to promote cooperation with the Philippines for peace and stability in the region, which Secretary Lorenzana agreed. The secretary expressed his appreciation for the port call by the escort ship Izumo in June. Minister Onodera commended the trilateral maritime patrol by the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia in the Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea.

6. Japan-Vietnam Defense Ministerial Meeting (Minister of National Defence Ngo Xuan Lich)

4th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting - Plus

Minister Onodera stated that, with Vietnam being the next ASEAN Dialogue Coordinator for Japan from next year, he would promote bilateral cooperation. Minister Ngo Xuan Lich responded that he wants to continue defense exchanges. On North Korea, Minister Onodera stated that its frequent reckless actions were grave and imminent threat to the region. They confirmed their cooperation on this matter including strict implementation of relevant USNC Resolutions. On the South China Sea, they confirmed the importance of maintaining the maritime order based on international law. They agreed that any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force is unacceptable.

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