Defence Minister General Tea Banh on Sunday urged his Asean counterparts to focus on countering terrorism, which remains a threat to regional security.
Gen Banh is attending the Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting Retreat and 6th Asean Defence Ministers’ Plus Meeting in Bangkok which began on Saturday and ends today.
The 6th ADMM-Plus meeting involves Asean ministers and their counterparts from Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States.
An RCAF statement obtained yesterday said that during Sunday’s session on “exchange of views on regional and international security environment”, Gen Banh said that ongoing changes in the geopolitical and geo-economic landscapes in the Asia-Pacific region have brought a wide range of security challenges, including terrorist activities.
“In our region there is still a growing concern on the global reach of terrorism and the spread of violence in our society,” he noted. “We still have serious concerns about the movements and influx of foreign fighters who spread radical ideological narratives and influence terrorist-linked groups in our region.”
Gen Banh noted that the accessibility of non-state actors to disruptive technology such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and biotechnology for terrorism-related activities is a serious concerns for the regional and international communities.
He also touched on superpower rivalry which appears to be shaking the foundations of global order, resulting in an uncertain future especially through trade wars which can be costly for the global economy.
Gen Banh said this rivalry will put pressure on Asean as each superpower tries to draw Southeast Asian countries to its camp.
“This is perhaps the greatest risk to Southeast Asia,” he noted. “In the true spirit of Asean, we will work together to maintain our unity and solidarity in dealing with external dialogue partners to ensure peace, stability, safety, development, and prosperity in our region.”
Chheang Vannarith, Asian Vision Institute president yesterday said via email that the ADMM is a key security cooperation dialogue for the region.
“The regional security environment is under stress due to unfolding power competition between the US and China and emerging non-traditional security threats such as climate change and marine pollution,” he said.
“ISIS fighters who return [home from abroad] might pose some security threats by spreading violent, extremist ideologies,” Mr Vannarith noted. “Southeast Asian countries which are embracing the digital economy also face cybersecurity threats.”
Kin Phea, director general of the International Relations Institute of Royal Academy of Cambodia, yesterday said that Cambodia is focusing on addressing regional security on the international stage after having experienced decades of civil war.
“Cambodia always joins in activities to tackle regional security issues, including terrorism and transnational crimes, including human trafficking,” he said.