24 May 2012
PHNOM PENH, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Defense officials from 27 countries gathered here on Thursday in the ASEAN Regional Forum Defense Officials' Dialogue (ARF-DOD) to discuss ways to accelerate cooperation on the issues of human assistance and disaster relief and peacekeeping operations, said a Cambodian senior defense official.
"The two-day forum will seek further cooperation from our ASEAN's dialogue partners to address these issues," Lt. Gen. Nem Sowath, director general of Cambodia's Defense Ministry's Policy and Foreign Affairs Department, said at the meeting. "The assistance from the dialogue partners is very crucial to build an ASEAN region of peace, harmony and prosperity."
He said the meeting would also discuss cooperation to battle against the human and drug trafficking, maritime security, and international terrorism in the region.
During the meeting, Nem Sowath also said that ASEAN needed to strengthen the collective capacity and leadership in preventing disputes and conflicts from arising between states that could potentially pose a threat to regional peace and stability.
"We need to cooperate and support each other in preventing such disputes and conflicts from escalating into armed confrontation," he said. "We need to create an effective regional mechanism to minimize the impact of such disputes and conflicts on the region."
Defense officials from the United States, Russia, China, India, Japan and South Korea also participated in the meeting.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.