Bangkok, Thailand (ANTARA) - Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu presented a working paper on ASEAN Our Eyes at the 13rd ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting (ADMM), Bangkok, Thursday, as a regional endeavor to enhance security in combating terrorism and related threats.

Officially opened by Thai Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwon, the annual meeting was themed "Sustainable Security."

"As this year's chairman, stability and security in the ASEAN have become very important for us all. I give support to all of us. We have proposed cooperation to advance the ASEAN by fostering our sense of belonging in the ASEAN and jointly advancing the community," Wongsuwon remarked.

After the opening ceremony, Wongsuwon opened a welcome session from each of the defense ministers, followed by a presentation of each participating country.

Ryacudu was present along with other ASEAN defense ministers: Awang Halji bin Haji Md Yussof from Brunei Darussalam, Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh from Cambodia, General Chansamone Chanyalath from Lao PDR, Mohammad bin Sabu from Malaysia, Lieutenant General Sein Win from Myanmar, Delfin Lorenzana from the Philippines, Ng Hen Hen from Singapore, and General Ngo Xuan Lich from Vietnam.

In line with the schedule, Ryacudu would present a working paper regarding a term of reference on the regional intelligence initiative dubbed "ASEAN Our Eyes."

In his statement, Ryacudu affirmed that the ASEAN has modality to be an immense power in the region and the axis of power in the world, which has a total of 627 million inhabitants and 2.6 million armed forces personnel.

"We should be grateful that we live and are on the axis of the global economy, as 40 percent of the international trade routes and the world economy pass through this ASEAN route, worth US$5.6 trillion per year," he pointed out.

The ASEAN is also listed as the most stable region in the world until now, with no conflict between its members.

Ryacudu highlighted the diversity and wealth of natural and renewable resources in the ASEAN in addition to the abundant human resources, whose quality had to be improved constantly.

"This is a special attraction for the world community. Hence, it comes as no surprise that the world community is also keen to join forces to collaborate in the region. We have also agreed to have a collaborative community to deal with various security issues that have the potential to disrupt stability in the region, for which some steps for cooperation have been taken, including the prevention of terrorism and others," he emphasized.

He further pointed to several concrete steps taken together to overcome different problems, ranging from the development of cooperation to overcoming problems in the Indo-Pacific region.

ASEAN nations have also agreed to form working groups in addressing problems, such as the threat of terrorism.

"We agreed to resolve this, starting from intelligence cooperation with the initiative of Our Eyes and trilateral steps or handling that have been very effective, where we have conducted joint sea and air patrols that will then be followed by joint land operations between Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. These are concrete examples of the success of ASEAN cooperation in the context of defense that has been initiated by ASEAN defense ministers," Ryacudu stated.

Translator: Ade P. Marboen/Yashinta Difa P
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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