ASEAN military chiefs pledged more cooperation in fighting terrorism and cracking down on drug and human trafficking during closed-door discussions in Phnom Penh yesterday.
Chea Tara, deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, chaired the 9th ASEAN Chief of Defence Forces Informal Meeting, which was attended by all member states.
Discussions stressed a need for ASEAN states to cooperate on internal security issues that threatened peace and stability as they moved towards a more united ASEAN community by 2015, he said.
“The ASEAN countries now are not far from each other,” he said. “We must join forces and share skills in order to ensure peace and stability in each country and across the region to prevent terrorism, drug and human trafficking, cross-border theft and maritime piracy.”
Mam Sam, chief of cabinet to the RCAF commander-in-chief, said the military chiefs will talk in coming days about developing a uniform disaster management plan.
Despite military chiefs vowing to strengthen cooperation, ASEAN is not evolving into any kind of military alliance, Amitav Acharya, professor from American University in Washington, DC, told the Post ahead of next week’s summit.
“ASEAN has . . . undertaken non-traditional security cooperation over issues like maritime piracy and terrorism. But this does not mean moving to a formal alliance like NATO,” he said.