ASEAN military intelligence chiefs have agreed to strengthen cooperation and build a strong military intelligence community which will commit to addressing security threats in order to maintain peace and stability in the region.

On behalf of the ASEAN chair, Hun Manith – head of the General Department of Research and Intelligence at the Ministry of National Defence – hosted the 19th ASEAN Military Intelligence Meeting (AMIM-19) at the ministry’s headquarters on March 15.

Manith thanked the delegations of the ASEAN military intelligence agencies for attending the meeting, despite the fact that the coronavirus continues to spread across the world.

“This is a testament to the spirit of good cooperation, solidarity and friendship of the ASEAN member nations,” he said in a press release.

The meeting focused on regional security issues including new developments, traditional and non-traditional security competition, and especially terrorism and Covid-19, which have seriously affected the socio-economic sector. They discussed ways to jointly address common issues in the region and agreed to continue to enhance ASEAN’s centrality, solidarity and unity.

“It was decided to strengthen and expand cooperation, share information and jointly address various threats to ensure we have a strong ASEAN military intelligence community that works towards peace, stability and prosperity,” the press release said.

Manith also handed over the AMIM chairmanship to the leader of the Indonesian delegation, who will chair the 20th meeting in 2023.

On March 14 and 15, the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) hosted two in person meetings – AMIM-19 and the 12th ASEAN Military Operations Meeting.

The two meetings were held ahead of the upcoming 19th ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces Meeting, scheduled for March 17. The ministry has prepared all necessary documents for this event, which will be held under the theme “Solidarity for Harmonious Peace”.

The theme aimed to highlight opportunities for peace and stability acceptable to all parties and to come up with solutions to regional issues that are in the interests of each country and the region as a whole. The theme also aimed to avoid selfishness and exploitation within the region.

Ro Vannak, co-founder of the Cambodian Institute for Democracy, said that strengthening cooperation, exchanging information with each other in order to maintain order, tackling cross-border crime, and combating terrorism, human trafficking and money laundering were priorities that ASEAN must pay great attention to in order to enhance the image and maintain the interests of each country – especially within the context of changing regional politics.

“However, the different challenges faced by each member of the regional body may also be an obstacle to speeding up shared intelligence work,” he told The Post on March 16.