18th ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces Meeting (ACDFM-18) held via video conferencing

Nay Pyi Taw  March 18

The 18th ASEAN Chiefs of De-fence Forces Meeting (ACDFM-18) took place this morning via video conferencing. The meeting was attended by Chairman of the State Administration Council Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Chief of Staff (Army) Lt-Gen Moe Myint Tun and Chief of Military Affairs Security Lt-Gen Ye Win Oo, Commander of Royal Brunei Armed Forces Major General Dato Seri Pahlawan Haji Hamzah Bin Haji Sahat and delegation, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces General Vong Pisen and delegation, Chief of Staff of the Indonesian National Armed Forces Lieutenant General Ganip Warsito and delegation, Acting Chief of General Staff Department of Laos Ministry of National Defence Major General Chanthong Sontaath and delegation, Commander-in-Chief of Malaysian Armed Forces General Tan Sri Dato Hj Affendi bin Buang and  delegation,  Deputy  Commander-in-Chief of the Philippine Armed Forces Lieutenant General Erickson R. Gloria and delegation, Chief of Defence Force of Singapore Lieutenant General Melvyn Ong and delegation, Chief of Defence Forces of the Royal Thai Armed Forces General Chalermphon Sri-sawasdi and delegation and Vice Chief of Staff of the People’s Army of Vietnam Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Phuong Nam and delegation.

First, the Commander of Royal Brunei Armed Forces, who chaired the ACDFM-18, delivered an opening speech.

Next, Chairman of  18th ASEAN Military  Intelligence  Meeting (AMIM-18 ) Colonel Haji Mohammad Muluddin Bin Awang Haji Latif of  Royal Brunei Armed Forces and Chairman of  11th ASEAN Military Operation Meeting (11th AMOM) Brigadier General Haji Abdul Razak bin Haji Abdul Kadir of Royal Brunei Armed Forces read meeting reports.

Then, the  military delegates from ASEAN countries made their discussions in alphabetical order and expressed their opinions about the title  “We Care,  We Prepare,  We Prosper.” In his discussion, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing wished all those in attendance to be free from all forms of dangers amid the COVID-19 crisis. He said with competition from world’s powerful countries and geographically strategic location, the ASEAN region is facing conventional security challenges as well as unconventional security challenges such as climate change, scarce resources, natural disasters, irregular migrant worker issue, food scarcity, human trafficking, drug smuggling, information security, piracy, transnational crime, terrorism and pandemic.

Among unconventional secu-rity challenges, terrorism and the COVID-19 global pandemic pose a major threat to the whole ASEAN region. So, it would be more effective and successful for the ASEAN countries to seek a solution in a concerted and coordinated effort rather than in an individual effort. Immigration and administrative weak-nesses, lack of complete monitoring of illegal cash flow, rampant drug smuggling, which is the major income source of terrorists, in the region, and mass accumulation of weapons from other regions are major obstacles to fighting terrorism in the ASEAN region.

COVID-19 global pandemic has changed the lives of about eight billion people of the world a lot. The governments and the peoples of the relevant countries have to take into account the new normal life. The pandemic has much impact on the socio-economic sector
causing a rise in poverty rate, an increase in hardships of women, delays in the education sector, hurting the social security, putting the IDPs in harm’s way and people of the rural areas at high risk of infection, reducing income, generating joblessness, shrinking the global trade, causing food scarcity, and prompting a sharp drop in the tourism industry.

Hence, ASEAN member States need an enhancement in their respective healthcare undertakings,an effective program to fulfill the needs and guarantee rights of the persons who are facing socio economic losses, the adoption of longterm remedial measures and policies, and the participation of the armed forces of the relevant countries in the functions of the COVID-19 response teams and committees to alleviate the consequences of the global pandemic and to prevent and control the virus.

  In accord with the theme of the meeting “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”, ASEAN countries must foresee all conventional and unconventional challenges and must have a careful analysis of them, must make preparatory measure to collectively overcome them, and must share the results achieved through the collective efforts as they are must-do programs.

  The meeting then discussed the paper on ASEAN Military Exercise (AMX), approved the Two Year Working Plan (2021-2023) of the ASEAN armed forces, held final discussions on the joint statement of the ACDFM-18 and approve it.

Then, the chair of the ACDFM-18 the commander of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces gave the closing speech and transferred the alternate chairmanship duty to the comman-der-in-chief of the Royal Armed Forces of Cambodia, who gave the acceptance speech. The meeting then came to a successful conclusion.

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