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Informal ASEAN defense ministers meeting kicks off in Cambodia

SIEM REAP, Cambodia, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) — Defense ministers from the ten-country Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met here on Friday to exchange views and to raise practical actions and measures for cooperation in order to maintain peace and security in the region.

Speaking at the opening of the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Retreat, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Tea Banh said that the bloc needed to strengthen cooperation and partnership to react to current challenges such as maritime security, environment issues, water security, food security and energy issues.

“No single nation can solve all the security issues by itself,” he said. “We need cooperation and partnership to overcome common security challenges to create the potentials for the establishment of a strong ASEAN Political-Security Community by 2015.”

He said that during the meeting, Cambodia will hand over the role as the chair of ADMM to Brunei’s Defense Ministry for 2013.

He said that in 2013, Brunei will also host the first-ever multilateral military exercise under the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) on the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Military Medicine.

“Such joint exercise will significantly contribute to the practical security cooperation on non-traditional security challenges,” he said.

Founded in 1967, ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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