International Asia Ng Eng Hen: Push for multilateral military exercises to counter terrorism

Ng Eng Hen: Push for multilateral military exercises to counter terrorism

The defence minister also reiterated Singapore's stance on the Code of Conduct (COC) for the South China Sea conflict

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Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen pushed for stronger cooperation among Asean military forces amidst growing tensions in the South China Sea.

“We have been pushing for multilateral exercises and indeed, we have been doing 18-nation exercises in counterterrorism,” Minister Ng said in response to queries during the Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM).

“You are not going to solve these differences without communication,” he added.

The ADMM was held in Bangkok on Monday (Nov 18). Ministers from 10 Asean member states as well as from China, Australia, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia, and the United States attended the event.

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Minister Ng also reiterated Singapore’s stance regarding the Code of Conduct (COC) for the South China Sea conflict.

“From Singapore’s point of view, the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea must be substantive, it must be effective and it must comply with the international rule of law,” he said as quoted in an initial report by the Straits Times.

More accurate communication lines and platforms, he added, is key to reducing the risks of miscalculation.

Minister Ng met with fellow defence ministers from neighbouring countries: Prabowo Subianto of Indonesia, Taro Kano of Japan, and Linda Reynolds of Australia.

Minister Ng previously stated that countries must follow the Code of Conduct to prevent further conflict in the disputed region.

Because so much depends on the seas, we need a strong consensus from all countries for common rules for the seas and their use. For the South China Sea disputes, the Code of Conduct can pave the way for agreement on international maritime norms and conflict prevention.”/TISG

“Dark storm clouds” threaten South China Sea, Ng Eng Hen urges common rules be adopted by countries in the region

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