Some 200 army commanders and delegates from the ministries of national defence of the 10 Asean nations gathered to attend the 13th Asean Navy Chiefs’ Meeting (ANCM) in Siem Reap on Tuesday.

Tea Vinh, the deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, said: “This year’s meeting covered discussions on improving mutual trust among the Asean navies, and maintaining peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region.

“We also discussed how to address challenges and emergencies effectively, based on the principle of non-interference, and focused on cooperation and reconciliation in order to find solutions to all maritime security challenges.”

During the opening remarks, Minister of National Defence Tea Banh acknowledged the current maritime challenges such as disputes in sea sovereignty, piracy and terrorism, illegal immigration, drug trafficking, illegal fishing, and environmental pollution.

Addressing these challenges, Banh said, “the cooperation of the Asean navies through the ANCM is a testament to our unified spirit and joint efforts in ensuring long-term maritime security and the recognition of our responsibility toward the fate of the Asean nations as a whole”.

Vinh said that during the meeting, Asean navy commanders pledged their full cooperation to honour the three principles raised during the previous Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting, that is, to build strength, responsiveness, and restoration capacity for maritime security.

Royal Cambodian Navy spokesman Khun Sothy declined to comment.

The first ANCM was held in 2001 in Bangkok, Thailand.