On December 10th, Minister of Defense Kishi attended the ceremony for the 10th Anniversary of the Founding of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (hereinafter referred to as "ADMM-Plus"), the 7th ADMM-Plus, and the 6th ASEAN-Japan Defence Ministers’ Informal Meeting via a videoconference.
What is ADMM-Plus?
The ADMM-Plus is the only meeting hosted by a government and attended by defense ministers in the Indo-Pacific region, including ASEAN and Plus countries.
Member countries include: ten ASEAN member states and eight Plus countries (Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, and the U.S.)
The Experts’ Working Group (EWG) was established under the ADMM-Plus to implement practical initiatives such as joint exercises to respond to security issues in the Indo-Pacific region.
10th Anniversary Ceremony of ADMM-Plus
(1) The online ceremony of the 10th Anniversary of the Founding of the ADMM-Plus was held with the attendance of H.E. Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Viet Nam, Minister-level participants from ten ASEAN Member States and eight Plus countries, and the Secretary-General of ASEAN. H.E. Mr. Phuc, H.E. General Ngo Xuan Lich, Minister of National Defence of Viet Nam, H.E. Dato. Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN, and H.E. Mr. Atul Khare, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support, all delivered speeches looking back on the development of ADMM-Plus over the past decade. Minister Kishi and H.E. Mr. Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defense of India, also made commemorative speeches on behalf of the Plus countries.
(2) Minister Kishi noted that the ADMM-Plus has made steady progress as the only framework for government-hosted meetings of Defense Ministers within the Indo-Pacific Region, and underscored his deep respect for ASEAN’s efforts in establishing and maintaining such an open and inclusive regional framework, noting ASEAN’s role as the driving force behind dialogue given its part in leading a diverse framework comprising ASEAN and Plus countries.
(3) Minister Kishi emphasized that Japan has consistently honored ASEAN’s regional leading role and supported its initiatives to tackle non-traditional security challenges. He also stressed that Japan has advocated for participating countries overcoming regional security challenges through reason and dialogue. Minister Kishi expressed his strong expectation that ADMM-Plus will continue to be a platform for confidence-building, and pointed to Japan’s determined commitment to furthering security cooperation in the region as a responsible Plus country.
About the 7th ADMM-Plus
(1) The 7th ADMM-Plus was held via a videoconference with Minister-level participation from the ten ASEAN Member States and eight Plus countries. At the meeting, the outcomes of the ASEAN Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting-Plus (ADSOM-Plus) in November were reported. Views were exchanged among Minister-level participants on the regional and international security landscape. On this occasion, the Ministers adopted the Joint Declaration on "Strategic Security Vision of the ADMM-Plus", followed by a signing ceremony. The meeting concluded with a handover of chairmanship between Vietnam and Brunei Darussalam.
(2) Minister Kishi stated that international cooperation and multilateralism are more important than ever before given the global challenge posed by COVID-19. He also stated that national defense authorities have played an important role in each country since the early stages of the outbreak and that ASEAN made a concerted effort to enhance the efficacy of cooperative infectious disease control frameworks. He expressed Japan’s determination to promote defense cooperation on infectious disease control.
(3) Minister Kishi further noted that with ASEAN located at the center of the Indo-Pacific region, maintaining ASEAN centrality and unity is fundamental to the stability and development of the region. Furthermore, he expressed his full support for the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), which shares fundamental principles with Japan’s "Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)" vision.
(4) On the South China Sea issue, Minister Kishi stated that the rule of law is a condition necessary for securing a free and open sea, and that Japan strongly opposes unilateral attempts to change the status-quo by coercion or the creation of a fait accompli. Japan shares concerns with ASEAN over this situation. Moreover, he expressed Japan’s position that the Code of Conduct (COC) should be consistent with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS), and should not infringe the legitimate rights and interests of all stakeholders. Minister Kishi rounded out his comments on this subject with a strong request for the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS.
(5) On issues related to North Korea, Minister Kishi highlighted the imperative of ensuring the full implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including through measures against "ship-to-ship transfers", and steps toward the complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of all weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles of all ranges.
(6) Then, Minister Kishi stated that Japan, as co-chairs with Vietnam, will commence activities from April next year as part of the 4th cycle of the ADMM-Plus Experts’ Working Group on peacekeeping operations. Japan is committed to contributing to the region through its co-chairing role in this forum. Lastly, he expressed his resolve that Japan will work strenuously to ensure a free and open international order based on the rule of law in light of the global pandemic that has brought us together with a strong sense of cooperation.
The Sixth ASEAN-Japan Defense Ministers’ Meeting
(1) The 6th ASEAN-Japan Defence Ministers’ Informal Meeting was held via a videoconference, at which time the respective Ministers exchanged views about promoting practical defense cooperation.
(2) H.E. General Lich, Minister of National Defence of Viet Nam, opened the meeting by describing that Japan is one of the most important countries and expressing his appreciation for the defense cooperation that Japan has proactively provided to ASEAN.
(3) At the outset, Minister Kishi expressed his intention to promote defense cooperation by utilizing the Japan Self-Defense Forces’ experiences and knowledge, while paying his respect to ASEAN’s proactive involvement in regional infectious disease prevention. He underlined that cooperation and collaboration through the rules-based international system, international organizations and institutions are more important than ever before in a globalized and inter-connected world, where emerging infectious diseases are a cross-national issue; no country can cope with a pandemic on its own.
(4) Minister Kishi noted that Japan had announced the "Vientiane Vision" as a guiding principle for its defense cooperation with ASEAN in 2016. At the corresponding meeting in 2019, Japan had announced an updated "Vientiane Vision 2.0", which envisaged expanded multilateral cooperation with ASEAN. He touched upon the programs Japan has provided under both "Vientiane Vision" updates.
(5) Taking the opportunity presented by the ASEAN-Japan Defence Minister’s Informal Meeting, Minister Kishi announced a new program under the "Vientiane Vision 2.0" – the "Japan-ASEAN Cyber Security Training Program for Defense Authorities". He indicated that a free, fair and safe cyberspace provides a foundation for free social and economic activities. He explained that the COVID-19 pandemic is hindering face-to-face interaction, consequently increasing our dependence on virtual communication and interest in strong cybersecurity measures. In view of growing cybersecurity threats, Japan is determined to improve cyber security incident response capabilities, for the benefit of both Japan and ASEAN.
(6) ASEAN member state ministers congratulated Minister Kishi on his appointment as Defense Minister and welcomed the "Japan-ASEAN Cyber Security Training Program for Defense Authorities" proposal. In addition, ASEAN member state ministers expressed their expectation for the furtherance of practical Japan-ASEAN defense cooperation under the "Vientiane Vision 2.0" in the future.
The Ministry of Defense (MOD) actively promotes bilateral and multilateral cooperation and is reinforcing defense cooperation and exchanges with ASEAN countries from the perspective of creating a stable security environment in the Indo-Pacific region.