ASEAN Meetings traditionally are in the focus of special attention. During these events, various topics are covered, reflecting the key trends in the global and regional development. The meetings of senior officials and Defense Ministers of the Association represent a format which is in a class of its own.
ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting and ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-plus on 24-26 October, 2017 in Manila (Philippines) showed how the region of South-East Asia is important to the global order and stability. The event itself has attracted great interest because of the problems that exist in the region: territorial disputes in the South China Sea and the growing terrorist threat.
A special meeting was organized for discussion of the problem of terrorism, radicalism, and extremism in the Southeast Asian countries. Its participants agreed that terrorism and extremism pose a common threat to all countries of the Association. This threat is enhanced by the presence of a special area between Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia; there are a large number of small islands and unclear national borders between them. This situation creates great difficulties in patrolling and monitoring the area. This area is a convenient place for terrorists, including those who currently have begun moving into the area from the Middle East. So, ASEAN had a great interest to Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu’s report on the results of Russian military operations to combat terrorism in Syria.
The current situation contributes to the expansion of Russia’s cooperation with ASEAN countries in fighting terrorism and extremism in the interests of ensuring regional security and stability.
During the meetings great attention was also given to non-traditional security threats: cyber security, energy security, threats related to migration and demographic processes, the risk of the global financial and economic crises, etc.
As for the position of ASEAN on the issue of the Korean Peninsula, there were no any changes. However, during the last meetings discussion of this issue has faded into the background, which once again confirms the clear focus of the countries of the Association on the challenges to internal security of Southeast Asia.