Attendees pose for group photos during the opening ceremony of the 11th ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) held in Pampanga Province, the Philippines, on Oct. 23, 2017. The defense ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) started here on Monday their high-level security dialogue to discuss security issues facing the region including counterterrorism, drug trafficking and maritime conflicts. (Xinhua/Rouelle Umali)
CLARK, the Philippines, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- The defense ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) started here on Monday their high-level security dialogue to discuss security issues facing the region including counterterrorism, drug trafficking and maritime conflicts.
ASEAN defense ministers held a breakfast meeting before the formal opening of the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) to specifically discuss the threat of violent extremism in the region, Arsenio Andolong, chief of the Department of the Philippine National Defense' Public Affairs Service, told Xinhua.
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed the meeting, saying they had "a productive discussions during the special breakfast meeting regarding the challenges of terrorism and violent extremism especially in Southeast Asia."
"Our breakfast meeting is an indicator of the robust state of defense cooperation among ASEAN member states as we have already had substantive talks even before the ADMM could begin," Lorenzana said at the opening of the ADMM.
He added "this morning's meeting will be an opportunity for us to focus on the progress of defense cooperation to include new initiatives in the way forward for ADMM."
The Philippines, chair of ASEAN this year, is hosting the 11th ADMM and 4th ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting - Plus (ADMM-Plus) that include eight of ASEAN's dialogue partners: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States.
Lorenzana said in an earlier statement that the Philippines will push several initiatives during the two-day meeting, including "a three-year work program that will focus on streamlining, synergizing, and rationalizing ADMM efforts."
"This is to pursue our cooperative mechanisms in the most efficient and effective way possible," Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana said that the meeting hopes to come up "with frameworks for maritime interaction, education and training exchanges, aircraft encounters, among others."
The ADMM is the highest defense consultative and cooperative mechanism in the ASEAN.
ADMM aims to promote mutual trust and confidence through greater understanding of defense and security challenges, as well as enhancement of transparency and openness among the 10 ASEAN member states, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The ADMM-Plus is a platform for ASEAN defense ministers to engage their dialogue partners from Asia and the Pacific.