Defense Update: Recap of PM Najib's Visit to the White House

Defense & Security Update | October 4, 2017
Authors: Jack Myint and Natalie McDaniel
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

October 17-18: Brunei Buisness MissionThe US-ASEAN Business Council is now registering senior-level executives for our business mission to Brunei. The mission schedule will consist of bilateral meetings with senior government officials and other priority stakeholders. Please contact Artha Sirait at asirait@usasean.org for more information. 

Dec 6-8: Myamnmar Business Mission Please save the date for the US-ASEAN Business Council's annual business mission to Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon, Myanmar on December 6-8, 2017. Official invitation with registration details to follow. Requested meetings include: President U Htin Kyaw, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Key Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament including Speaker of the Pyithu Hluttaw (Lower House) U Win Myint, Myanmar Investment Comissioner and the UMFCCI. Please contact Jack Myint at jmyint@usasean.org for any questions or to express interest.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Recap of PM Najib's Visit to the White House

On September 12, Prime Minister Najib Razak visited the White House to commemorate the 60th anniversary of bilateral ties between Malaysia and the United States. During their meeting, President Trump and PM Najib agreed to further boost defense cooperation in existing areas such as maritime security, counterterrorism and cybersecurity. The outlook of US-Malaysian defense ties after Prime Minister Najib’s visit is positive as both sides reaffirmed their commitment to a strong bilateral defense relationship in their Joint Statement for Enhancing the Comprehensive Partnership between the United States and Malaysia. President Trump welcomed Malaysia’s intent to make an additional $60 million in defense procurements from the United States. The leaders also committed to pursuing additional opportunities for joint exercises and training. On September 18, the United States and Malaysia conducted a maritime training activity (MTA) at Lumut Naval Base. This exercise is separate from the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise series which was underway at the time, though Malaysia officially remains part of the CARAT series and CARAT exercises between the US and Malaysia are expected to continue in the future. To access the full joint statement, click here.

Myanmar's Rakhine State Situation

On August 23, Myanmar’s Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, published its final report. The next day on August 24, a series of coordinated attacks against 20 police outposts and an army base in Rakhine leaving 9 dead. The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) claimed responsibility for the attacks, which the Myanmar government has since labeled a terrorist group. The Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s army) retaliated with a series of security operations to root out terrorists amongst the local Muslim population, bringing fatalities up to over 300. On September 11, ARSA proposed a ceasefire, which the Myanmar government rejected as it has “no policy to negotiate with terrorists.”

As of September 28, approximately 501,000 have fled across the border to Bangladesh according to the UN Refugee Agency. Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has requested that the Myanmar government take back these refugees. International outcry over the Myanmar government’s handling of the matter escalated quickly, with media, rights groups, and prominent world leaders calling for an end to violence against the Muslim population in Rakhine. In the United States, U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced a resolution condemning the violence against the Muslim population in Rakhine and calling on the government, particularly State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, to act. Additionally, Senator McCain has said that he will strip language from the 2018 National Defense Authorization Bill authorizing defense spending that would have expanded bilateral U.S. military cooperation with Myanmar.

However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) rejected McCain and Durbin’s resolution and was less critical of Myanmar’s government and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who he claims is still “the best hope for democratic reform in [Myanmar]”. Senator McConnell did condemn the situation in Rakhine but placed the emphasis more on Myanmar’s military.

On September 19, Myanmar’s State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi addressed the international community on her government’s commitment to resolve the crisis in Rakhine. The most significant highlights of the speech were her commitment to adopt the recommendations made in the Rakhine Advisory Commission led by Kofi Annan; welcoming international scrutiny on the matter and inviting diplomats to visit some affected areas; and the assurance that the refugees who fled Myanmar to Bangladesh will be accepted back, under a 1993 agreement made between the two countries. This process will only allow those who meet the criteria under the 1982 Citizenship Law to receive citizenship.

The international community’s response to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s speech has been mixed, but her domestic public support remains high. The actual implementation of the Annan commission will be key and something to monitor closely. Following Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s speech, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke with her by phone and welcomed her government’s commitment to end the violence in Rakhine and to allow those displaced by the violence to return home. Additionally, he urged the government and the Tatamadaw to facilitate humanitarian aid for displaced communities throughout the affected areas, and to address allegations of human rights abuses and violations on the part of Myanmar’s military. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, in his address to the United Nations General Assembly, was more critical and specifically called out Myanmar’s Tatamadaw, saying that, “Burmese security forces responded to militant attacks on government outposts with terrible savagery.”

On September 20, Vice President Henry Van Thio, in his address to the United Nations General Assembly, affirmed the Myanmar Government’s commitment to peacefully resolving the situation in Rakhine State, assured that there has been violence since September 5, and that security forces in Rakhine have been instructed to take “full measures” to avoid collateral damage and harming innocent civilians.

 
 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 

Regional Affairs
Are minilaterals the future of ASEAN security?
Indonesia, Singapore hold joint SAR exercise
A New ASEAN Trilateral Terrorism ‘Task Force’?
S. Korea, ASEAN vice defense ministers to discuss cooperation
Malaysia, Philippines talk security Palawan meet
Practical Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific

ASEAN
ASEAN-Plus defense ministers to discuss terrorism, drug trafficking in Philippines
Asean defense ministers to issue ‘unified statement’ on South China Sea
Asean military kits up for wider challenges
China's Arms Sales Around Asia May See Their Own Weapons Used Against Them
What Did the Latest US Asia Maritime Security Exercise Achieve?
Korea, ASEAN vice defense ministers to discuss cooperation
New ASEAN Cyber Drill Kicks Off in Vietnam

Brunei
His Majesty stresses on cybersecurity, vigilance
China Navy Fleet Makes Brunei Voyage

Indonesia
Historic Indonesia-Singapore Maritime Boundary Pact Goes to UN
U.S., Indonesian Navies Enhance Training Objectives
Japan seeks expanded industrial engagement with Indonesia and India
Senegal interested in Indonesian vessels
Indonesia looks to secure Laos exports 
Where Are Indonesia-Turkey Military Ties?
Indonesia protests underline threat to free speech
Indonesia’s Dangerous ‘Anti-Communist’ Paranoia
Indonesia, Long on Sidelines, Starts to Confront China’s Territorial Claims
China demands Indonesia drop new name for Natuna waters

Laos
Laos Plans to Buy Sniper Rifles, Pistols from PT Pindad, Indonesia
China, Laos Hold New Defense Meeting

Malaysia
Malaysia to Get New China Security Equipment
M'sian vigilance urged as jihad call from Indonesia strengthens
US, Malaysia Launch Naval Exercise After Najib-Trump Summit
Malaysia boosts regional security efforts, tackling transnational crime at 11th AMMTC in Manila
Malaysia-Thailand to ink MoU on security cooperation
Joint Statement for Enhancing the Comprehensive Partnership between the United States of America and Malaysia
11 new initiatives to improve quality of security services
DPM's presence at Interpol General Assembly reflects Malaysia's commitment to combating terrorism
Countries must act in concert to deal with today's growing security threats, says Hishammuddin
DPM: Asean respects Malaysia’s voice and ideas
Malaysia developed solutions in battle against extremism and radicalisation: Zahid

Myanmar
Israel refuses to stop arms sales to Burma despite Rohingya ‘ethnic cleansing’
+ Rohingya Crisis: Focus on 'Intolerant Religion' Disregards Complex Moral and Policy Challenges
India presses on with Myanmar defense supplies in show of support
Aung San Suu Kyi blames 'terrorists' for Rohingya 'misinformation'
Myanmar: Who are the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army?
UK to suspend its military ties with Myanmar
U.S. Considers Limiting Military Ties to Myanmar Over Rohingya Crisis

Philippines
US, Philippines Launch New Military Exercise
Battle to free Marawi in Philippines continues, enters 5th month
Government: Security, human rights not incompatible
Where Is the Philippines Coast Guard in its Military Modernization?
When Will the Philippines Get Its New French Vessels?
Duterte visits Marawi anew; US deploys unmanned surveillance aircraft
Mindanao needs new security plan – lawmaker
Philippine army and armed groups join forces in Marawi
China set to deliver defense equipment
Duterte on America: I'd rather be friendly with them now
What’s in the New US-Philippines Military Exercise?
North Korea test of nuclear bomb amplifies a crisis
New Australia Military Terror Aid For the Philippines?

Singapore
Singapore Defense Minister Visits Iraq Troops in Terror War
Beijing wants 'even more mature military relationship' with Singapore, says China's Defence Ministry
Strengthening U.S. and Singapore partnership during Tiger Balm 2017
RSAF completes 9-day Hurricane Harvey relief operations in the US
What’s in the New US-Singapore Maritime Exercise in Guam?
Singapore Deploys Military Helicopters For US Hurricane Operations
Singapore Launches Fifth New Warship

Thailand
Thailand’s bad blimp buy haunts military
Thailand to acquire Mk 54 lightweight torpedo array kits
Russia, Thailand sign military cooperation agreement
River to be secure for cremation of King Rama IX
Southern leaders, military prepare for Rohingya migrants

Vietnam
S. Korea, Vietnam to hold defense strategy talks
Military supplies from India meant for our self-defence, sovereignty: Vietnam
Việt Nam, Australia hold foreign affairs, defence strategic dialogue
Vietnam, India to co-operate on maritime matters
Japan-ASEAN ties add impetus to Vietnam-Japan strategic partnership
Workshop navigates towards free, open seas of Asia
Vietnam, RoK intensify defence collaboration
Defence ministry urged to continue building regular, elite army
Vietnam slams China over military drills in South China Sea
South Korean coast guard ship visits Vietnam

 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Regional Affairs

Are minilaterals the future of ASEAN security? East Asia Forum 30th Sep 2017
The Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines Trilateral Maritime Patrol (Indomalphi) implemented its first joint patrol in June 2017. Almost a year since signing the trilateral framework in August 2016, the recent attack by the Maute group in the Philippines emphasised the urgent need for cooperation. With a growing number of common threats, how will trilateral or minilateral arrangements such as Indomalphi contribute to ASEAN security? And what are the implications for ASEAN security cooperation? On the sidelines of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting in Laos in May 2016, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines agreed to pursue trilateral patrols in the Sulu and Celebes Seas. Despite the increase since then in crimes committed at sea such as kidnapping, piracy and smuggling, the agreement did not have the momentum for an immediate launch until the Marawi siege on 23 May in the Philippines.

Indonesia, Singapore hold joint SAR exercise Antara News 11th Sep 2017
Search and Rescue (SAR) offices of Pontianak and Singapore held a joint exercise during the 35th Indopura SAR Exercise to improve their ability in SAR Mission Coordination.

A New ASEAN Trilateral Terrorism ‘Task Force’? The Diplomat 7th Sep 2017
On Sunday, headlines began swirling when Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he may look to discuss the possibility of creating a task force with Indonesia and Malaysia to combat the Islamic State. Over the past few months, particularly following the siege of Marawi City by Islamic State-linked militants, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines have been looking to boost cooperation among themselves to deal with the rising terrorism threat.

S. Korea, ASEAN vice defense ministers to discuss cooperation Yonhap News Agency 5th Sep 2017
Senior defense ministry officials of South Korea and other Southeast Asian countries will gather in Seoul this week to discuss cooperation on regional security amid stepped-up tensions following North Korea's recent nuclear test. South Korea's Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk will hold a meeting Wednesday with his counterparts from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to the ministry. They are expected to discuss issues related to regional peace and stability, the ministry said.

Malaysia, Philippines talk security Palawan meet NST Online 3rd Sep 2017
Malaysia, in an effort to further enhance relationship with the Philippines, has conducted a bilateral partnership programme in the Province of Palawan yesterday. The Malaysian delegates, led by Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) deputy chief of intelligence staff Assistant Commissioner Hashim Justin, visited the Mangsee Island, which was located near the maritime border of Kudat, Sabah and southern Philippines. The programme was also joined by the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

Practical Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific The Diplomat 2nd Sep 2017
Media headlines in recent days have been splashed with a slew of rather tense and at times, bleak, news, such as, notably, the South China Sea disputes, the U.S. Navy’s freedom of navigation operations, and the spate of ship collisions in the Indo-Pacific. These tend to provoke questions about ASEAN unity despite the bloc’s long-touted centrality in the regional security architecture, as well as the durability of U.S. security commitment as a stabilizing power. But amidst the air of geopolitical pessimism, one often overlooks the amount of work that takes place behind the scene between navies and coastguards in the Indo-Pacific. This is indeed the case for activities customarily undertaken by Indo-Pacific maritime practitioners, as we can collectively label those professionals in the navies and coastguards.

ASEAN

ASEAN-Plus defense ministers to discuss terrorism, drug trafficking in Philippines Xinhua 28th Sep 2017
The defense ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and eight dialogue partners will convene in the Philippines next month to discuss fighting terrorism, drug trafficking and maritime conflicts, the Philippine defense chief said on Thursday. Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that ministers will also discuss ways to mitigate climate change and cushion its impact on the region.

Asean defense ministers to issue ‘unified statement’ on South China Sea Inquirer 28th Sep 2017
The defense ministers of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) are expected to come up with a “unified statement” on the South China Sea in a meeting next month, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday. “We are going to have some statement, also resolution on some of the conflicts on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). Hopefully, magkaroon tayo ng unified statements dyan with Asean countries,” he told reporters in a press briefing.

Asean military kits up for wider challenges The Manila Times 9th Sep 2017
Military arms procurement is evident in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member countries. Was it prompted by the increased tension in the South China Sea aggravated by threats of missile attack following a war of words between the US and North Korea? Of late, North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan described by Prime Minister Abe as “an unprecedented, serious and significant threat”.

China's Arms Sales Around Asia May See Their Own Weapons Used Against Them Forbes 7th Sep 2017
China, keen to help domestic companies reined in by competition at home, declared four years ago it had opened trade corridors around Asia. It named this ambitious project the New Silk Road after the network used more than 2,000 years ago to link China with the Middle East. The new route aimed to install Chinese-developed infrastructure that would, in turn, facilitate trade with 68 countries. But the Beijing government has already begun peddling arms along the Southeast Asian spur of this route. It has sold weapons to at least seven Southeast Asian countries since 2006, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute data. The institute places the total value of those sales at more than half a billion U.S. dollars.

What Did the Latest US Asia Maritime Security Exercise Achieve? The Diplomat 6th Sep 2017
Last week, the United States and South and Southeast Asian states ended the latest iteration of the Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) exercise. The drills, which featured a larger number of participants compared to the previous year, represents one of several steps the United States is taking to increase its bilateral and multilateral exercises in the Asia-Pacific. SEACAT, which began in 2002 under the name “Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism,” was renamed in 2012 to expand the scope of training among regional navies and coast guards. Designed to promote multilateral cooperation and information-sharing among navies and coast guards in South and Southeast Asia, SEACAT typically brings together liaison officers to execute maritime responses to scenarios to better tackle maritime security challenges such as smuggling and piracy. It usually comprises a series of workshops, information exercises, as well as operations at sea.

Korea, ASEAN vice defense ministers to discuss cooperation Korea Herald 5th Sep 2017
Senior defense ministry officials of South Korea and other Southeast Asian countries will gather in Seoul this week to discuss cooperation on regional security amid stepped-up tensions following North Korea's recent nuclear test. South Korea's Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk will hold a meeting Wednesday with his counterparts from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, according to the ministry. They are expected to discuss issues related to regional peace and stability, the ministry said.

New ASEAN Cyber Drill Kicks Off in Vietnam The Diplomat 18th Sep 2017
On Monday, another iteration of a regular drill among Southeast Asian states and their other Asian partners got underway in Vietnam. The drills, which are now in their 12th year, represent part of the subregion’s response to growing cyber challenges it has witnessed in recent years. As I have noted before, there are a variety of bilateral and wider regional arrangements, mechanisms, and forums that Southeast Asians have in place to manage challenges in the cyber realm focused on areas like incident response, confidence-building, and cyber capacity-building. These range from the cybersecurity working group within the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus to the new ASEAN Cyber Capacity Program introduced by Singapore last year (See: “Singapore Unveils New ASEAN Cyber Initiative”).ency websites.

Brunei

His Majesty stresses on cybersecurity, vigilance Borneo Bulletin Online 18th Sep 2017
The prevalence of security threats in multiple and complex forms in the face of a fast-paced technological evolution calls for greater vigilance and robustness from the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF), His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, Minister of Defence and Supreme Commander of the RBAF said yesterday.

China Navy Fleet Makes Brunei Voyage The Diplomat 26th Sep 2017
On September 25, a Chinese naval fleet arrived at Brunei’s largest port for a three-day exchange in the country. The interaction is just one manifestation of the growing relationship between the two countries amid efforts particularly by Beijing to boost the defense side of its ties with the sultanate as well as Southeast Asian states more generally.

Indonesia

Historic Indonesia-Singapore Maritime Boundary Pact Goes to UN The Diplomat 28th Sep 2017
This week, Indonesia and Singapore jointly submitted a new maritime boundary pact agreed by both sides to the United Nations. Though the development was a logical next step for the two parties following progress achieved beforehand, it was nonetheless significant within the context of the management of a challenging bilateral relationship that is commemorating a major anniversary this year.

U.S., Indonesian Navies Enhance Training Objectives U.S. Department of Defense 7th Sep 2017
The U.S. and Indonesian navies have come together for the 23rd iteration of a bilateral exercise and skills exchange called Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, or CARAT. The exercise began today and continues through Sept. 13. Taking place on the ground here and in the waters and airspace of the Java and Bali seas, the training is aimed at deepening maritime security cooperation between the United States and Indonesia.

Japan seeks expanded industrial engagement with Indonesia and India Jane's 360 6th Sep 2017
Japan is undertaking efforts to deepen understanding of the defence industrial capabilities of Indonesia and India, with a view to pursuing military technology programmes with the two countries and possible defence trade, Jane's has learnt. Since late August, Japan's Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) – a division under the Ministry of Defense (MOD) – has held two separate forums with representatives from the defence ministries and industries of Indonesia and India to promote collaboration.

Senegal interested in Indonesian vessels Defence Web 27th Sep 2017
Senegal has expressed interest in acquiring civil and military vessels from Indonesia, including a landing platform dock. In May 2012 then Indonesian ambassador Andradjati said his country would improve cooperation with Senegal and between October and November 2013 an Indonesian trade mission visited the West African country. Leading the mission, the Ministry of Commerce’s Director General of Foreign Trade Partogi Pangaribuan declared “Indonesia will utilize Senegal […] as entry points for West African market access”.

Indonesia looks to secure Laos exports | Jane's 360 Jane's 360 25th Sep 2017
Indonesia is seeking to strengthen its position as a regional defence exporter through a deal to provide Laos with weapons and ammunition, the state-run Antara news agency reported on 24 September.

Where Are Indonesia-Turkey Military Ties? The Diplomat 20th Sep 2017
On September 6, Indonesia and Turkey held their annual defense talks. Though the dialogue represented just one avenue through which both sides have been pursuing security cooperation, it nonetheless gave them an opportunity to evaluate where they are in this realm.

US, Indonesia Launch Naval Exercise The Diplomat 20th Sep 2017
On September 7, the United States and Indonesia kicked off the 23rd iteration of a key bilateral naval exercise between the two sides. CARAT Indonesia, which will last for around a week, is an example of the growing military ties between both countries that are continuing despite some challenges under U.S. President Donald Trump.

Indonesia protests underline threat to free speech Financial Times 20th Sep 2017
Indonesian anti-Communist and Islamist protesters have twice disrupted discussions of dark episodes in the country’s modern history in recent days, the latest sign of eroding freedom of speech in one of the world’s largest democracies.

Indonesia’s Dangerous ‘Anti-Communist’ Paranoia Human Rights Watch 18th Sep 2017
On Monday a violent mob of hundreds of “anti-communists” attacked the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute’s offices, after false reports claimed it was hosting a meeting of the long-outlawed Communist Party of Indonesia. The ensuing melee injured five police officers trying to disperse the demonstrators and 22 suspected rioters were arrested.

Indonesia, Long on Sidelines, Starts to Confront China’s Territorial Claims The New York Times 10th Sep 2017
The pushback from Indonesia takes direct aim at Beijing’s claims within the so-called “nine-dash line,” which on Chinese maps delineates the vast area that China claims in the South China Sea. It also adds a new player to the volatile situation, in which the United States Navy has been challenging China’s claims with naval maneuvers through waters claimed by Beijing.

China demands Indonesia drop new name for Natuna waters The Jakarta Post 3rd Sep 2017
China has issued a demand for Indonesia to reverse its decision to rename the South China Sea (SCS) waters that lie within Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Laos

Laos Plans to Buy Sniper Rifles, Pistols from PT Pindad, Indonesia Defense World 25th Sep 2017
The Laotian Defense Ministry has expressed keen interest in buying G2 elite pistols, SPR 2 sniper rifles and ammunition from Indonesian state-owned weapons manufacturer PT Pindad, the company's vice president for export Ridi Djajakusuma said. "We have again introduced and promoted PT Pindad products to the Laotian Defense Ministry. They have keen interest in buying weapons from Pindad, including short rifles and ammunition," Djajakusuma, said recently, according to Antara news.

China, Laos Hold New Defense Meeting The Diplomat 18th Sep 2017
Over the weekend, China and Laos held the first iteration of a new defense consultative mechanism. The convening of the so-called high-level frontier meetings, led by the defense ministers of both sides, has been billed yet another step in the development of security ties by Beijing and Vientiane despite some of the recent challenges inherent in the relationship.

China, Laos agree to boost military exchanges, cooperation  Borneo Bulletin Online 17th Sep 2017
China and Laos have vowed to deepen bilateral high-level military exchanges and cooperation during a visit by Chinese State Councillor and Defence Minister Chang Wanquan to Laos which concluded yesterday. During his four-day visit, Chang met with General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party and Lao President Bounnhang Vorachit.

Malaysia

Malaysia to Get New China Security Equipment The Diplomat 28th Sep 2017
On September 27, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi disclosed that he had agreed in principle to acquire high-tech equipment to combat crime from China following his engagements with Chinese counterparts this week. The move is another step in the slow development of defense ties by the two sides in spite of challenges that remain.

M'sian vigilance urged as jihad call from Indonesia strengthens Free Malaysia Today 27th Sep 2017
A think tank has urged Malaysian authorities to be vigilant against the possibility of Indonesian expatriates answering a rallying call coming from their home country for a jihad in Myanmar. “The Rohingya crisis has become a rallying cry for jihad among Indonesian Islamist groups,” said Remy Mahzam, a research fellow with the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.

US, Malaysia Launch Naval Exercise After Najib-Trump Summit The Diplomat 20th Sep 2017
On September 18, the United States and Malaysia kicked off a maritime training activity at Lumut Naval Base. The interaction, which came just days after a summit meeting between the leaders of the two countries, was testament to the ongoing interactions between the two sides in the defense realm.

Malaysia boosts regional security efforts, tackling transnational crime at 11th AMMTC in Manila NST Online 20th Sep 2017
: Malaysia further galvanised efforts to bolster regional security and battle transnational crime through a unanimously approved four-point proposal at the 11th Asean Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC), here today. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, upon handing over chairmanship of the annual meeting to the Philippines head of delegation Catalino S. Cuy, laid out the implementation plan towards strengthening regional forces against terrorism, trade in humans, illegal money-laundering to fund terrorism and human-trafficking.n 2015, were discussed.

Malaysia-Thailand to ink MoU on security cooperation The Sun Daily 20th Sep 2017
There will be closer security cooperation between Malaysia and Thailand with the establishment of a Joint Committee on Security Cooperation, according to a cabinet resolution document released by the Thai government. Both countries are expected to ink the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), paving the way for the establishment of the Joint Committee in Kuala Lumpur, this month.

Joint Statement for Enhancing the Comprehensive Partnership between the United States of America and Malaysia whitehouse.gov 13th Sep 2017
The President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump, hosted the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, at the White House to strengthen the Comprehensive Partnership between the two countries as they mark the 60th anniversary of bilateral relations. The United States and Malaysia share a long history of close cooperation built on economic ties and mutual security interests.  The two leaders pledged to continue building upon that relationship through enhanced diplomatic, economic, security, and people-to-people ties.

11 new initiatives to improve quality of security services Free Malaysia Today 7th Sep 2017
The home ministry today announced 11 new initiatives which are expected to improve the quality and image of the security services industry in the country. Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said in the effort to prepare the industry for future challenges, some of the initiatives had been implemented while the rest would begin next year. “These initiatives that I am announcing affect 800 security companies under the Security Services Association of Malaysia (PPKKM) quite significantly,” he said, when announcing the 11 initiatives at a meeting with the board members and management of security companies here.

DPM's presence at Interpol General Assembly reflects Malaysia's commitment to combating terrorism NST Online 24th Sep 2017
BEIJING: With terrorism a growing threat in the region, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s presence at the 86th Interpol General Assembly, here, reflects Malaysia’s commitment to combating militancy and other international crime.

Countries must act in concert to deal with today's growing security threats, says Hishammuddin NST Online 23rd Sep 2017
No country in the world is able to act alone to deal with today’s growing and complex security threats. Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who is currently on a three-day working visit to China, said today various issues had been discussed in a series of meetings with the Asian giant’s leaders, concerning regional security and terrorist threats, particularly the movement of the Islamic State (IS) terror group and military cooperation between Malaysia and China.

DPM: Asean respects Malaysia’s voice and ideas The Star Online 21st Sep 2017
MANILA: Several Malaysian proposals at the 11th Asean Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (AMMTC) here have been well-received by member states, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Malaysia developed solutions in battle against extremism and radicalisation: Zahid NST Online 19th Sep 2017
MANILA: Malaysia will end its chairmanship of the Asean Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime on a high tomorrow, but with the promise of continued stewardship in the battle to protect the region.

Duterte to meet Najib and Jokowi over anti-terrorism deal The Star Online 5th Sep 2017
DAVAO CITY: Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte will meet with leaders from Malaysia and Indonesia to formalise details of an anti-terrorism deal, Philippine News Agency reported.

Myanmar

Israel refuses to stop arms sales to Burma despite Rohingya ‘ethnic cleansing’ Asian Correspondent 28th Sep 2017
Israel's High Court ruled Wednesday on a petition against the country’s weapons sales to Burma (Myanmar), but the verdict must remain secret as the judges hearing the case issued a gag order at the request of the state. Israeli state representatives, however, have said they will refuse to stop selling arms to Burma despite the military’s deadly campaign against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.

Rohingya Crisis: Focus on 'Intolerant Religion' Disregards Complex Moral and Policy Challenges EPW 23rd Sep 2017

The United Nations (UN) recently described the humanitarian situation for the Rohingya in northern Rakhine, in Myanmar, as catastrophic (BBC 2017). The situation is worsening by the day, as humanitarian aid agencies and organisations are banned from the area by the Burmese government in an attempt to control events on the ground and stymie efforts to provide aid to the Rohingya. For decades the Rohingya have been denied citizenship by the Burmese state, classified as Bengali immigrants, and subject to virulent forms of discrimination. Today they are being subjected to what Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, has described as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” (Sullivan 2017).

India presses on with Myanmar defense supplies in show of support Reuters 21st Sep 2017
India is considering supplying arms to Myanmar’s government in a sign of strong support for a neighbor that faces criticism for its crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. The arms were discussed during a visit by the chief of Myanmar’s navy, Indian officials said on Thursday. The two sides also talked about training Myanmar sailors on top of the courses taught to its army officers at elite Indian defense institutions.

Aung San Suu Kyi blames 'terrorists' for Rohingya 'misinformation' CNN 6th Sep 2017
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has made her first public comments on the fate of her country's persecuted Rohingya minority since new violence broke out almost two weeks ago. Suu Kyi, who as Myanmar's state counsellor is the country's de facto leader, claimed during a phone conversation with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan a "huge iceberg of misinformation" about the Rohingya crisis was being distributed to benefit "terrorists." According to a readout of the call, she added her government was fighting to ensure "terrorism" didn't spread over the whole of Rakhine state.

Myanmar: Who are the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army? BBC News 6th Sep 2017
More than 100,000 Rohingya people have fled their homes since 25 August. They are trying to escape violence, following a military counter-offensive against Rohingya militants who attacked police posts. The insurgents claim to be acting on the behalf of Myanmar's Rohingya - but who are they? Who are Arsa? The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa) operates in Rakhine state in northern Myanmar, where the mostly-Muslim Rohingya people have faced persecution. The Myanmar government has denied them citizenship and sees them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Clashes erupt periodically between ethnic groups but in the last year, an armed Rohingya insurgency has grown. Arsa, previously known by other names including Harakah al-Yaqin, has killed more than 20 police officers and members of the security forces.

UK to suspend its military ties with Myanmar Yeni Safak 21st Sep 2017
The U.K. is suspending all its engagement with Myanmar's military until the action against the country's Muslim Rohingya minority is halted, British Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday. "We are very concerned about what is happening to the Rohingya people in Burma [Myanmar]. The military action against them must stop," May told the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

U.S. Considers Limiting Military Ties to Myanmar Over Rohingya Crisis Time 21st Sep 2017
The Trump Administration is considering limiting U.S. ties with Myanmar’s military in response to its recent violence against the country’s Rohingya Muslims, a White House official tells TIME. In the past three weeks, more than 420,000 Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic minority group, have fled their homes in Myanmar, also known as Burma, in what the United Nations human rights chief has called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Philippines

US, Philippines Launch New Military Exercise The Diplomat 2nd Oct 2017
On October 2, the United States and the Philippines officially began the launch of a newly named bilateral exercise. The holding of the fresh drills speaks to the steps both sides are continuing to take to adapt to the changing context of the treaty alliance under the reign of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Philippines, U.S. to review joint military exercises in Hawaii meet Xinhua 26th Sep 2017
The Philippines and the United States will review its joint military activities when their military leaders meet in Hawaii Wednesday. The two sides are expected to decide which joint war exercises will be conducted next year, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Tuesday.

Battle to free Marawi in Philippines continues, enters 5th month Borneo Bulletin Online 25th Sep 2017
Bullets continue to fly and rocket bombs continue to explode in Marawi as the military offensive to completely retake the southern Philippine city from Islamic State (IS)-inspired extremists entered its fifth month. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said the pro-IS Maute militants managed to prepare sufficient caches of bombs, high-powered firearms and ammunition to fight the government security forces even before they laid siege to Marawi on May 23.

Government: Security, human rights not incompatible philstar.com 25th Sep 2017
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has called on countries critical of the government’s ongoing campaign against illegal drugs to respect the Philippines’ sovereignty and not tell the nation’s leaders what to do. “Security and human rights are not incompatible. Indeed, the first is our duty to the other. Without security, the most basic human rights, to life and safety, are constantly under attack – from terrorism, criminality, drug and human trafficking,” Cayetano told delegates at the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly in a statement he delivered during the gathering’s high-level debate in New York yesterday.

Where Is the Philippines Coast Guard in its Military Modernization? The Diplomat 25th Sep 2017
Not unlike some other neighboring Southeast Asian states, the Philippines has been placing an increasing emphasis on the development of its coast guard (See: “Assessing Malaysia’s Coast Guard in ASEAN Perspective”) as it seeks to boost its overall capabilities, which still remain quite limited to cover over 7,000 islands with a tenth of the world’s coastline. Under former President Benigno Aquino III, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has seen boosts in its level of funding, personnel and equipment, as a result of both internal capacity-building as well as help from countries such as Japan and the United States.

When Will the Philippines Get Its New French Vessels? The Diplomat 13th Sep 2017
On September 6, the Philippines and France signed an agreement that would facilitate the acquisition of five vessels for the Philippine Coast Guard. The inking of the pact illustrates Manila’s continuing efforts to strengthen partnerships with countries such as France as it looks to boost its capabilities to address manifold challenges in the maritime realm.

Duterte visits Marawi anew; US deploys unmanned surveillance aircraft Manila Bulletin News 12th Sep 2017
President Duterte visited anew the besieged city of Marawi in Lanao del Sur as the war there entered its 112th day Monday. This was Duterte’s fourth time to visit the war-torn city since the war against the Daesh-inspired Maute Group started on May 23, 2017. Duterte, who as accompanied by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año, and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go, reportedly visited Baloi Bridge and the Grand Mosque. The President, clad in military uniform, reportedly received updates on the ongoing armed conflict.

Mindanao needs new security plan – lawmaker The Manila Times 11th Sep 2017
The Department of National Defense and the Philippine National Police need to draw up a whole new security strategy for Mindanao to prevent a repeat of the Marawi City siege elsewhere, according to a lawmaker. “We cannot afford to expose another city or large municipality in Mindanao to a crisis akin to Marawi, or to the Zamboanga City siege in 2013,” Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, a member of the House Committee on National Defense and Security, said in a statement.

Philippine army and armed groups join forces in Marawi Al Jazeera 6th Sep 2017
The Philippines military has teamed up with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters as it prepares for a final assault against the Maute armed group in the southern city of Marawi. Soldiers were seen mingling freely with several hundred MILF fighters who have joined forces for an assault on fighters on the southern island of Mindanao. The joint operation is the latest tactic by the Philippine government to try to stamp out fighters linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group after months of battling a separate faction of fighters who have besieged the city of Marawi. The alliance with MILF included "providing them with indirect fire support and even air support and other expertise," Major-General Arnel dela Vega told AFP, adding that the awkwardness of fighting alongside former long-time foes had evaporated.

China set to deliver defense equipment The Manila Times 3rd Sep 2017
Beijing will deliver this year more equipment that will be used for counter-terrorism and security in Mindanao, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has said. Lorenzana said the deal on the defense equipment, including rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and fast boats, was part of a 700-million-yuan grant from China.

Duterte on America: I'd rather be friendly with them now Rappler 28th Sep 2017
'Overall, I think the Americans also redeemed themselves a lot,' President Rodrigo Duterte says during the 116th Balangiga Encounter Day in Eastern Samar. There are so many factors involved but I'd rather be friendly to them now because aside from these episodes of, I said, sad incidents, overall, I think the Americans also redeemed themselves a lot," Duterte said during the 116th Balangiga Encounter Day in Balangiga, Eastern Samar. Duterte's speech on Thursday comes as the US assists the Philippines in ending clashes between government troops and Islamic State (ISIS)-linked Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City. Earlier this month, the US announced it was donating P730 million ($15 million) to help rebuild Marawi. Recently, the Philippines and the US held a drill that simulated a hijacking and hostage-taking incident to train their troops in fighting terrorism.

What’s in the New US-Philippines Military Exercise? The Diplomat 19th Sep 2017
Over the weekend, the armed forces of the United States and the Philippines conducted a joint civil assistance activity as part of preparations for a newly named bilateral military exercise that will take place soon. The drills, which are officially set to begin in early October, are part of an effort by the two treaty allies to continue their defense cooperation in spite of challenges faced under the leadership of Rodrigo Duterte.

North Korea test of nuclear bomb amplifies a crisis | BusinessMirror BusinessMirror 4th Sep 2017
North Korea’s detonation of a sixth nuclear bomb last Sunday prompted the Trump administration to warn that even the threat to use such a weapon against the United States and its allies “will be met with a massive military response”.

New Australia Military Terror Aid For the Philippines? The Diplomat 31st Aug 2017
On Monday, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop made headlines when she revealed that she had offered additional military support to the Philippines during a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte earlier this month. Though her comments about the offer were far from surprising considering the increasing cooperation already underway between both sides, they nonetheless sparked conversation because they would present both opportunities as well as challenges for both sides. Australia and the Philippines have long had a strong relationship that extends into the defense realm. Security ties include not just regular interactions like exchanges and exercises, but capacity-building in areas ranging from maritime security to counterterrorism as well as assistance with respect to the peace process in the southern Philippines.

Singapore

Singapore Defense Minister Visits Iraq Troops in Terror War The Diplomat 28th Sep 2017
This week, Singapore’s defense minister Ng Eng Hen visited the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) medical team deployed in Iraq which is supporting the U.S.-led Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. The move put the spotlight on the city-state’s deepening role in combating the Islamic State amid growing regional fears about the threat.

Beijing wants 'even more mature military relationship' with Singapore, says China's Defence Ministry TODAYonline 28th Sep 2017
China wants to improve its military relationship with Singapore, but is resolutely opposed to any country having defense ties with self-ruled Taiwan, China’s Defence Ministry said on Thursday (Sept 28). China is suspicious of the Republic's military relations both with the United States and Taiwan. Singaporean troops train in Taiwan, despite a lack of formal diplomatic relations between the two. Last November, Hong Kong port authorities impounded nine Singaporean armored military vehicles being shipped home from training grounds in Taiwan, leading to tensions between Singapore and China. Hong Kong later released the vehicles.

Singapore, China reaffirm commitment to deepen defence ties Channel NewsAsia 22nd Sep 2017
Singapore's Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen held a bilateral meeting with Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense General Chang Wanquan in Beijing on Thursday (Sep 21) as the pair reaffirmed the commitment to deepen defence ties and build mutual trust as well as practical cooperation between both countries.

Strengthening U.S. and Singapore partnership during Tiger Balm 2017 U.S. Army 9th Sep 2017
Soldiers with the Hawaii Army National Guard (HIARNG), U.S. Army Pacific, 25th Infantry Division and Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) participated in exercise Tiger Balm 2017 at Mandai Hill Camp (MHC) from July 17-27, 2017. "Tiger Balm exercise demonstrates a strong commitment to our regional security partnership with all involved, said Col. Steve Logan, chief of staff, HIARNG. This marks the thirty-seventh annual exercise between U.S. Army Pacific and Singapore Armed Forces promoting regional stability and security.

RSAF completes 9-day Hurricane Harvey relief operations in the US TODAY 8th Sep 2017
The four Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) helicopters that took part in the Hurricane Harvey relief operations have completed their mission in the United States. In a statement on Friday (Sept 8) the Ministry of Defence said the chinook helicopters and 34 personnel were deployed from their Peace Prairie detachment in Grand Prairie to help out in operations in Temple, Texas. The helicopters flew 30 sorties, conducting resupply, underslung and troop lift missions, said a Mindef spokesman. They had worked closely with the Texas Army National Guard (TXARNG) over their nine-day deployment to transport personnel and essential supplies such as food, water and equipment.

What’s in the New US-Singapore Maritime Exercise in Guam? The Diplomat 6th Sep 2017
Over the weekend, the United States and Singapore concluded their inaugural bilateral exercise off of Guam. The holding of the first iteration of Exercise Pacific Griffin, which has been planned since last year, represented the latest effort by the two partners to boost their defense cooperation amid shared challenges. As I have written before, the United States and Singapore have long viewed each other as vital strategic partners, and that extends to the security realm as well. The United States is a key supplier of defense technology and facilities for military training for Singapore, while the city-state is a valuable regional partner that across a range of issues from counterterrorism to maritime security while also hosting a U.S. Navy logistics command unit that coordinates regional operations (“Strengthening the U.S.-Singapore Strategic Partnership”).

Singapore Deploys Military Helicopters For US Hurricane Operations The Diplomat 30th Aug 2017
On Wednesday, Singapore announced that it would deploy up to four helicopters to assist the United States with relief operations in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The move is an acknowledgement of both the relationship between the two countries as well as the city-state’s presence in the United States. As I have noted before, both Singapore and the United States have long viewed each other as vital partners, including in the defense realm (“Strengthening the U.S.-Singapore Strategic Partnership”). For Singapore, the United States, apart from being a key supplier of defense technology and facilities for military training, has also been the provider of regional stability that has allowed the city-state to emerge as one of the world’s most advanced economies. For Washington, Singapore has played an outsized role as a security partner, not just across issues like counterterrorism and cybersecurity, but also in hosting a U.S. Navy logistics command unit that coordinates regional operations.

Singapore Launches Fifth New Warship The Diplomat 25th Sep 2017
This week, Singapore held the launching ceremony for another one of its locally-built and designed warships. The ceremony, which occurs as the city-state’s navy commemorates its 50th anniversary, marks another step in its continued defense modernization.

Thailand

Thailand’s bad blimp buy haunts military The Washington Times 27th Sep 2017
Thailand’s military-dominated government is facing demands for an investigation into the army’s 2009 purchase of a $10 million U.S.-built surveillance blimp that leaked, crashed, rarely flew and ultimately was sent to be cannibalized for its $6 million infrared thermal cameras. The big white balloon, which was to be used to hunt jungle-based Islamist guerrillas, has become a big white elephant, posing questions to a government dominated by the former army chief.

Thailand to acquire Mk 54 lightweight torpedo array kits Jane's 360 25th Sep 2017
Northtrop Grumman has been awarded a USD18.6 million contract to produce Mk 54 Mod 0 lightweight torpedo array kits for operators of the weapon including Thailand, according to information published by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 19 September.

Russia, Thailand sign military cooperation agreement TASS 14th Sep 2017
Russia and Thailand have signed an intergovernmental agreement on military cooperation, a source in the Russian embassy in Bangkok told TASS on Thursday.

River to be secure for cremation of King Rama IX The Nation 11th Sep 2017
The Marine Department on Monday announced its preparedness to provide security and direct water traffic during the royal cremation ceremonies for His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama IX) at Sanam Luang in Bangkok from October 25-27. A water security co-ordination centre will be set up to oversee the operation around the clock during the period. 

Southern leaders, military prepare for Rohingya migrants The Nation 4th Sep 2017
Authorities in Ranong and Pang Nga southern provinces met with the military on Monday in response to fighting in Myanmar’s Rakhine state that resulted in an influx of Rohingya displaced persons to Bangladesh. They discussed the possibility that Rohingya may try to escape the violence by sea, and come ashore in southern Thai provinces. In the past, Muslim Rohingya have used Thailand as a transit point to travel to Malaysia, also a Muslim country.

Vietnam

S. Korea, Vietnam to hold defense strategy talks Yonhap News Agency 8th Sep 2017
South Korea said Friday it will hold vice ministerial defense talks with Vietnam on improving bilateral cooperation on North Korea and other security issues. South Korean Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo-suk is scheduled to meet with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Chi Vinh later in the day for the annual Defense Strategy Dialogue, which was launched in 2012.

Military supplies from India meant for our self-defence, sovereignty: Vietnam The Times of India 7th Sep 2017
Vietnam has underlined the significance of defence ties with India saying it will continue to purchase military equipment from India to defend its sovereignty. In an exclusive interaction with TOI, Vietnam's ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh also said Vietnam would continue to seek greater Indian role in exploring oil and gas blocks off the coast of Vietnam in South China Sea, despite the opposition from China, as these fell in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Accusing China of having changed the status quo in South China Sea (SCS), the ambassador said people could see for themselves if the situation there was similar to the one witnessed at Doklam where Indian and Chinese soldiers were locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball standoff for over 2 months.

Việt Nam, Australia hold foreign affairs, defence strategic dialogue Viet Nam News 2nd Oct 2017
The fifth foreign affairs and defence strategic dialogue at the deputy ministerial level between Việt Nam and Australia was organised in Canberra on Wednesday. The event was chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Đặng Đình Quý and Australia’s Deputy Secretary, Defence People Rebecca Skinner and Deputy Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Gary Quinlan. During the dialogue, the two sides agreed to continue boosting the Việt Nam-Australia relations in the fields of politics, economics, trade, defence, security, agriculture, education and training, tourism and people-to-people diplomacy.

Vietnam, Australia hold fifth foreign affairs, defence strategic dialogue Nhan Dan 27th Sep 2017
The event was chaired by Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Dang Dinh Quy and Australia’s Deputy Secretary Defence People Rebecca Skinner, alongside Deputy Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Gary Quinlan. During the dialogue, the two sides agreed to continue boosting Vietnam-Australia relations in the fields of politics, economics, trade, defence, security, agriculture, education and training, tourism and people-to-people diplomacy. They exchanged their views on regional and international issues of mutual concern, while pledging to maintain their close coordination at multilateral forums, including the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the forums led by ASEAN, such as the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN Regional Forum, in order to promote dialogue and cooperation, whilst maintaining peace, stability and order in the region.

Vietnam, India to co-operate on maritime matters VietnamNet 27th Sep 2017
India’s shipbuilding enterprises said they would comply with the needs of the Vietnamese shipyard industry at the Maritime Industry Business Meeting in Hai Phong City on September 25. The meeting, co-organised by the Indian Embassy in Viet Nam and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s branch in Hai Phong City, was a part of the ongoing celebrations to commemorate the 45th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Viet Nam, the 10th anniversary of establishment of Strategic Partnership and 25th anniversary of India-ASEAN relations. At the meeting, Indian shipbuilders, including Goa Shipyard Limited, Bharat Electronics Limited and Larsen & Toubro Limited confirmed that they belonged to India’s Ministry of National Defence, and were capable of producing equipment for military vessels, including fire control systems, communication equipment, and able of designing and building big ships, and were ready to co-operate with Vietnamese shipyard plants.

Japan-ASEAN ties add impetus to Vietnam-Japan strategic partnership VOV 13th Sep 2017
The sound relationship between Japan and ASEAN give major impetus to Vietnam – Japan extensive strategic partnership, Deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh said following the ninth Japan – ASEAN Deputy Defence Ministerial Meeting. In an interview granted to the media after the meeting ended in Japan’s Fukuoka prefecture on September 13, the Deputy Defence Minister said as a coordinator of ASEAN – Japan ties in 2018, Vietnam will play a significant role in seeking ASEAN’s consensus on orientations for the bloc’s cooperation with Japan and in working with Japan to realise ideas and aspiration of both sides, thus bringing practical benefits to Japan, the ASEAN Community and each ASEAN member.

Workshop navigates towards free, open seas of Asia VOV 13th Sep 2017
“Navigating Towards the Free and Open Seas of Asia: The Role of Maritime Law in Maintaining Good Order at Sea” was the theme of a workshop in Hanoi on September 12. The event, which was held by the Embassies of the UK and Japan in Vietnam in conjunction with the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV), brought together experts from the UK, Japan, Singapore, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, India and Indonesia. The workshop stressed the importance of the rule of law in maintaining peace and security at sea in the region and discussed practical measures to narrow gaps of awareness between countries of ensuring maritime security and enhancing economic development.

Vietnam, RoK intensify defence collaboration VOV 9th Sep 2017
Deputy Minister of Defence Sen. Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh and his RoK counterpart Suh Choo-suk co-chaired the sixth Vietnam-the Republic of Korea (RoK) defence policy dialogue at deputy ministerial level in Seoul on September 8. Deputy Minister Suh Choo-suk highlighted progress in cooperation between Vietnam and the RoK and the two defence ministries. He said that the RoK is willing to support Vietnam in areas of Vietnam’s demand such as personnel training, foreign language teaching, overcoming war aftermath, including dioxin detoxification, bomb and mine clearance, and maritime security.

Defence ministry urged to continue building regular, elite army VOV 7th Sep 2017
President Tran Dai Quang has asked the Ministry of National Defence to focus on a number of missions assigned by the Party, State and people, including the continued building of a revolutionary, regular, elite and modern people’s army. The State leader had a working session with the ministry’s leaders in Hanoi on September 6 to review its past performance and direct new tasks. The President praised achievements the ministry has obtained in leading the implementation of military missions over the past time

China brushes off Vietnam protests over South China Sea drills Reuters 6th Sep 2017
China on September 6 dismissed Vietnamese condemnation of its military live-fire exercises in the disputed South China Sea, saying it was acting within its sovereign rights. China conducted the drills around the Paracel Islands, which Vietnam claims, prompting Vietnam to say it would ”resolutely protect“ its ”legitimate rights’ through peaceful means. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular briefing that China had done nothing wrong. “We hope the relevant side can regard the drills calmly and reasonably,” he said, without elaborating.

Vietnam slams China over military drills in South China Sea NDTV 6th Sep 2017
Vietnam has delivered a sharp rebuke to China over military drills in the South China Sea, the second such warning in a week as tensions rise between the countries over the disputed waterway. China and Vietnam have long traded barbs over the strategic and resource-rich South China Sea, which Beijing claims most of. Tensions have flared in recent months, with Vietnam suspending an oil exploration project operated by Spain's Repsol in an area off its coast claimed by Beijing. In June, a meeting between top Vietnamese and Chinese generals over border issues was abruptly cancelled, with both sides citing a sudden scheduling conflict.

South Korean coast guard ship visits Vietnam Tuoi Tre News 4th Sep 2017
Vessel Badaro of South Korea’s coast guard force arrived in the central Vietnamese city of Da Nang on Monday, commencing its four-day visit to the city. The training ship carried a crew of 145 officers and 44 sailors headed by Kim Dong Jin, head of human resource at the Korea Coast Guard Academy. The welcoming ceremony was held in the presence of Vietnamese coast guard officers and city officials. During their stay in Da Nang, crew members of vessel Badaro will join courtesy meetings with leaders of Da Nang and conduct exchanges with the High Command of Vietnam Coast Guard for enhanced bilateral relations.