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Thailand Hosts ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting

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BANGKOK – Defence ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have begun their annual meeting, over security threats, the South China Sea and North Korea high on the agenda.

Defence Ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantrawanich said the 10 ministers are discussing both internal security cooperation and regional issues, especially cooperation in tackling security threats and combating terrorism.

The Bangkok Post reports that 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.

The 10 Asean countries are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

ASEAN History

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The signing of the ASEAN Declaration  by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Brunei then joined on 7 January 1984, Vietnam on 28 July 1995, Lao PDR and Myanmar on 23 July 1997, and Cambodia on 30 April 1999, making up what is today the ten Member States of ASEAN.