KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — The waters of South China Sea should remain free and secure for commercial purposes without any military activities or being turned into a field of conflict among major powers, according to Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Ismail Sabri who headed the Malaysian delegation to 14th Asean Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) and the 7th ADMM-Plus conference via video conferencing also called on all parties to avoid actions which can affect the stability of the region. 

The two-day meeting which began yesterday was hosted by Vietnam as 2020 Asean chair while the ADMM-Plus involved the Defence Ministers of all Asean countries and eight Plus dialogue partners namely United States, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia as well as the Asean Secretary-General.

“Also emphasised was the Rohingya refugee crisis which gave effects to Malaysia’s social aspect and economy as well as at international level. The issue should not be shouldered solely by any one country especially Malaysia.


“Asean member countries especially the Plus dialogue partners as well as international community are urged to find an effective solution to the humanitarian crisis,” he said in a statement here today.

Ismail Sabri said among other matters discussed were the five new regional cooperation initiatives for the agreement of Asean Defence Ministers.

He said they included a standard operation procedure (SOP) document of the Asean Militaries Ready Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, AMRG on HADR.


“The SOP is meant to be a guide to the armed forces of countries in the region in extending humanitarian aid to countries affected by disasters in the region under the Asean flagship.

“It is hoped the initiative would further strengthen the solidarity of Asean in facing disaster in the region in line with the ‘One Asean One Response’ concept,” he said.

In this regard, Ismail Sabri also participated in three informal meetings of Asean Defence Ministers +1 with United States, China and Japan held on the sideline of the ADMM-Plus meeting.

He also joined the 10th ADMM-Plus anniversary celebration and a joint session with special guests of ADMM chairman which are Germany, Canada, European Union, France, United Nations and United Kingdom.

The meeting ended with the signing of a joint declaration by all Defence Ministers to strengthen the spirit of cooperation among Asean countries and Plus dialogue partners. — Bernama