23 May 2024

Foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and their counterparts from world powers including the United States, China and Russia discussed cooperation on a number of security issues from counter terrorism, counter violent extremism and transnational crimes, cyber security, to the promotion of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in a regional security meeting of the 26th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) during the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Post Ministerial Conferences (PMCs) held in Bangkok on August 2nd 2019.

27 top diplomats from 10 ASEAN Member States, 10 ASEAN Dialogue Partners including Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States, 6 other countries in the region including Bangladesh, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Timor-Leste, joined the forum, while Papua New Guinea attended as ASEAN observer.

The event’s press statement says that the first ARF took place in Bangkok 25 years ago, and has become a primary and most inclusive regional dialogue to build trust and confidence. The Meeting acknowledged the need for the ARF to adapt itself to increase its efficiency in addressing regional and international challenges, including by updating the ARF Vision, while discussions also centered around ways to promote sustainable security, human security and maritime security and the exchange of views on regional and international issues, trade tensions, the situation in the Rakhine State, the South China Sea, and the Korean Peninsula. They also addressed the need to cooperate to counter terrorism, counter violent extremism and transnational crimes, cyber security, and promote the realization of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The Meeting adopted the ARF Statement on Aviation Partnership: Soaring ahead Together, the Joint Statement on Promoting the Women, Peace and Security Agenda at the ARF, the ARF Statement on Preventing and Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism Conductive to Terrorism, and the ARF Work Plan for Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime 2019 – 2021.

The ARF was established in 1994 as a ministerial meeting comprising participants which include ten ASEAN Member States, ten ASEAN Dialogue Partners, one Special Observer and six other countries in the region. ARF aims to strengthen regional peace and stability in three phases, namely, Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), Preventive Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution. The ongoing cooperation in the phase of CBMs includes disaster relief, counter-terrorism, maritime security, disarmament and security of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs).

The event was chaired by Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand.

Source: ASEAN Summit 2019 https://www.asean2019.go.th/en/news/26th-asean-regional-forum-arf-2/