ASEAN hotline for maritime disputes
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
ASEAN defence officials gathered in Brunei to discuss issues of establishing a direct communication link, or hotline to prevent the escalation of maritime disputes in the region.
Brunei initiated the first closed-door workshop to explore measures in forming a hotline as part of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting process.
In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said the workshop would be a platform to shape the concept of the hotline to prevent maritime disputes from flaring, and to promote quick response cooperation in emergency situations.
It added that the workshop was an outcome of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s intention to have practical procedures in place to avoid any undesired incidents at sea, which was communicated during the 22nd ASEAN Summit in the sultanate last April.
Colonel (Rtd) Pg Dato Paduka Hj Azmansham Pg Hj Mohamad, permanent secretary (Defence Policy and Development) at the Ministry of Defence said the workshop was the first step in establishing the direct communication link.
As Brunei’s ASEAN Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting leader, he expressed confidence in meeting the workshop’s objectives.
He said this confidence stems from the cooperation, understanding and solidarity of ASEAN, as well as the talent and dedication of the officials participating in the workshop.
The direct communication link concept is a confidence-and-security-building measure activity with means to provide rapid, reliable and confidential communication between any two defence establishments, he added.
However, the permanent secretary noted the difficulties and sensitivities that they will face in their deliberations, but hoped the diversity of opinions would not deter, but instead draw their wealth of experiences to fulfil the prospects of achieving a single ASEAN Community by next year.
The four-day workshop saw the participation of 46 delegates from the ASEAN member states and ASEAN Secretariat, as well as panel speakers from the United Nations and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
The Brunei Times