Minister's Meeting Plus
The Asean Defence Minister's Meeting Plus, or simply ADMM+, is a regional forum focused on defence engagement among its members. Its main goal is to strengthen security and defence cooperation among the member-States in order to achieve sustainable and permanent peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region. The forum is compounded by the ten ASEAN countries and eight others, called “Dialogue Partners”, turning it into a more comprehensive platform to deal with the defence challenges of the region.
The ADMM+ was established during Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2010 and since then there were held three ministerial meetings. Besides that, ADMM+ has remained extremely active, holding annual meetings of senior officials and showing substantial military cooperation developed by its Groups of Experts. The committee has six groups within which the Members debate about the following topics: Maritime Security, Counter-terrorism, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Management, Peacekeeping Operations, Humanitarian Mine Action and Military Medicine.
Acknowledging that the Asia-Pacific region faces several challenges ahead, the ADMM+ makes a very important contribution to stability and prosperity by building trust and confidence among the regional defence forces. All the eighteen Member States participate in the meeting, all represented by their Defence Ministers, who are expected to achieve by consensus a joint statement.
Maritime Security in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia is a region with several conflicts and disputes, between the Asian countries, and between the Great Powers of the world. These conflicts and disputes take place, majority, in the waters that surround China and the Indochina region. The waters and territories of the South China Seas have been the subject of disputes for a long time, and actually, they appear to be escalating.
Therefore, the Maritime Security in the region is an important and polemic topic to be discussed in a regional forum, such as the ADMM+. The value of this discussion is related to the importance that the security of national and international waters have to the International System, since a great part of all international commerce and communications are done by maritime transportation, principally in the choke points of the Southeast Asia. Besides that, Oceans and Seas are used by all states to project power and national defense, being of great importance the control of the water.
Bearing these in mind, Southeast Asia is a substantial region to discuss Maritime Security, for all the territorial disputes that exist in the Asia-Pacific Ocean, and the conflicts that emerge between Great Powers in the region. In the South China Sea, China and ASEAN’s countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam, dispute the islands of Paracel and Spratly. In the case of the East China Sea, China and Japan dispute the control over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. The unilaterally declared Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) made by China in this Sea manages to increase the tensions in the region. Moreover, Japan also have territorial disputes over the Kuril Islands with Russia and over the Liancourt Rocks with South Korea.
Behind all these territorial disputes, there is an urgent need to discuss how the countries in the region will deal with the question of maritime sovereignty and the right to free and safety navigation in international waters. In the last year, China has developed an increasing program of islands building in the reefs of the Spratly Islands. However, the nature of these territories to International Law are not well defined, being object of dispute and increasing the tensions in the region.
In October 2015, an American vessel entered in this disputed area, showing that the United States are not willing to accept the more assertive Chinese presence in the region. This act are included in a broader American initiative, the "Pivot to Asia", an attempt to balance the increasing Chinese presence in the Asia-Pacific region. Other face of this strategy is the increasing maritime security cooperation between United States and countries like Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.
The delegates of the ADMM+ will have several challenges to address in UFRGSMUN, far beyond the territorial claims. The topic of Maritime security will involve the discussion of maritime and aerial sovereignty; the importance of the use of Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs); the combat to nonstate threats, such as piracy; and negotiations to the implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).
The increasing tensions in the Asia-Pacific region are a threat to the International stability, and a deep discussion in Maritime Security matters between the countries in the region is needed to avoid further escalations. The final objective of this committee will be reach a broad and deep roll of actions to deal with Maritime Security in all its aspects, conciliating opposing interests that influence not only the regional balance of power, but the international system.
Bradford, John. The growing prospects for maritime security cooperation in Southeast Asia. Naval War College Review, 2005: 62 - 86. | Lee, Victor Robert. South China Sea: China's Unprecedented Spratlys Building Program. April 25, 2015. http://thediplomat.com/2015/04/south-china-sea-chinas-unprecedented-spratlys-building-program/ (accessed January 19, 2016). | Panda, Ankit. For the ASEAN-China South China Sea Code of Conduct, Ninth Time Isn't the Charm. August 01, 2015. http://thediplomat.com/2015/08/for-the-asean-china-south-china-sea-code-of-conduct-ninth-time-isnt-the-charm/ (accessed January 19, 2016). | Parameswaran, Prashanth. US Announces Maritime Security Boost for Southeast Asia. November 19, 2015. http://thediplomat.com/2015/11/us-announces-boost-to-maritime-security-assistance-to-southeast-asia/ (accessed January 19, 2016). | Sciutto, Jim, and Katie Hunt. China says it warned and tracked U.S. warship in South China Sea. October 28, 2015. http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/27/asia/us-china-south-china-sea/ (accessed January 19, 2016). | Slevison, Alice. An ADIZ with Chinese Characteristics. October 19, 2015. http://thediplomat.com/2015/10/an-adiz-with-chinese-characteristics/ (accessed January 19, 2016). | Tuan, Hoang Anh, and Nguyen Vu Tung. Growing Maritime Security Concerns in Southeast Asia. June 19, 2015. http://nationalinterest.org/feature/growing-maritime-security-concerns-southeast-asia-greater-13145 (accessed January 19, 2016).
Counterterrorism in Southeast Asia
"Terrorism" is a widely debated term with no consensus on its definition. For instance, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), due to differences in domestic issues and its members’ foreign policies, has never agreed on the meaning of "terrorism", even though the region has suffered several terrorists attacks in the lasts decades (Soesilowati 2011). Southeast Asia is one of the most affected regions by terrorism in the world, as it contains not only indigenous groups, but also organizations directly linked to al-Qaeda and to the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS). The first one has been active in the region since the 1990s, getting recruits for their ranks and raising funds. Its major affiliate in the region is the regional group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), which is the main suspect of carrying out the 2002 bombing in Bali - that took more than 200 lives - and several others attacks in the last decade (Banlaoi 2009). The second one is recently raising its presence also through alliances and propaganda. Several groups from Indonesia and Philippines have already pledged allegiance to IS. Moreover, some analysts estimates that are around 800-1000 supporters of IS in Southeast Asia , thus representing a great threat to the peace and stability in the region. In January 14 2016, the world witnessed the first terrorist attack carried out by IS in Southeast Asia which represented the definite establishment of a new force of instability in the region (Abuza 2016).
Besides traditional problems of the fight against terrorism, ASEAN members have several difficulties and differences on dealing with it. The complex domestic situation of some countries, such as Indonesia and Philippines, affects the national and the organization capacity to address properly to terrorism. Also, the heterogeneous foreign policies of the distinct countries in the region results on disagreements about the definition of terrorism and how to achieve one effective regional counterterrorism policy (Soesilowati 2011). Finally, although cooperating with the international community to suppress terrorists acts, ASEAN does not agree with foreign intervention in national issues. Some Southeast Asian nations - and Dialogue Partners, especially China and Russia - perceives the United States-led "war on terror" as a pretext to act in the region, jeopardizing their sovereignty.
Although having several differences dealing with terrorism, ASEAN members have never gave up seeking a regional policy to combat terrorism. As a result, it has achieved some remarkable success. In the 2001 ASEAN Declaration on Joint Action to Counter Terrorism, the organisation did not reach a consensus on a clear definition of "terrorism", but the document stresses the profound threat that it represents to international peace and security and the urgency to take practical measures to counter it. The ASEAN Work Programme 2002 facilitates the exchange of information, greater legal cooperation, law enforcement cooperation, training programs and collaboration with ASEAN’s Dialogue Partners. Other example is the ASEAN convention on counter-terrorism, signed in 2007. It provides one regional framework to fight terrorism and specifically demarcates terrorist acts (Soesilowati 2011). Lastly, one recent success of cooperation on counterterrorism was the 2013 Counterterrorism Exercise (CTX) between forces of members of the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM+ 2015).
Therefore, it is of vital importance that ASEAN overpass its differences to counter, prevent and suppress the transnational danger represented by terrorism. Alongside its Dialogue Partners, ASEAN members should seek more intelligence sharing, operational capacity building and more joint exercises. ADMM+ must enhance the cooperation between the forces of its 18 members, but also must respect each country’s sovereignty, not allowing that the war on terror be an excuse to foreign intervention in the region.
Abuza, Zachary. “Beyond Bombings: The Islamic State in Southeast Asia.” The Diplomat. 15 de January de 2016. http://thediplomat.com/2016/01/beyond-the-bombings-assessing-the-islamic-state-threat-in-southeast-asia/ (acesso em 24 de January de 2016). | ADMM+. “ADMM ASEAN.” About the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM-Plus). 14 de January de 2015. https://admm.asean.org/index.php/about-admm/about-admm-plus.html (acesso em 23 de January de 2016). | ASEAN. “ASEAN Efforts to Counter Terrorism.” ASEAN. 04 de July de 2012. http://www.asean.org/?static_post=asean-efforts-to-counter-terrorism-this-paper-was-prepared-for-the-un-counter-terrorism-committee (acesso em 24 de January de 2016). | Banlaoi, Rommel C. Counter Terrorism Measures in Southeast Asia: How Effective are They? Manila: Yuchengco Center, 2009. | Bruce Vaughn, Emma Chanlett-Avery, Ben Dolven, Mark Manyin, Larry Niksch. Terrorism in Southeast Asia. Congressional Research, Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2009. | Soesilowati, Sartika. “ASEAN’s Response to the Challenge of Terrorism.” Journal Unair 24, 2011: 228-241.
MEET THE STAFF
Thaís Jesinski Director
Thaís Jesinski Batista, Director, is a 7th semester student of International Relations at UFRGS. Her main areas of interest are international politics and international security, strategy studies and regional integration processes. She first took part in a MUN in 2013, at UFRGSMUN. In 2014, she joined as a member of UFRGSMUN's Academic Staff, taking part as an Assistant Director of the DISEC (Disarmament and International Security Committee). In 2015, she participated in UFRGSMUN as a director of this same committee. She has also been involved with several MUN activities for high school students, like UFRGSMUNDI and UFRGSMUN Back in School, teaching about the United Nations system and international issues. At the 14th UFRGSMUN she will take part as a Director of the ADMM+.
Pedro Henrique Prates Director
Pedro Henrique Prates Cattelan, Director of the ADMM+, is a 4th year student of International Relations at UFRGS. His first MUN experience was in 2013, representing Australia in Security Council at UFRGSMUN. In 2014, he represented Malaysia in the Disarmament and International Security Committee at UFRGSMUN. In 2015 he joined the UFRGSMUN’s Academic Staff as Assistant-Director of the Security Council. He has as areas of interest strategic studies, history of international relations and international affairs of Asia and Middle East.
Joana Lopes Assistant-Director
Joana Soares Cordeiro Lopes, Assistant-Director of the ADMM+, is a 2nd year student of International Relations at UFRGS. Her first MUN experience was in 2014, representing the United Kingdom in the United Nations Security Council in UFRGSMUNDI, while still in high school. In 2015, she took part in the administrative staff of UFRGSMUNDI and in 2016 she joined the academic staff of UFRGSMUN and UFRGSMUNDI. Her main areas of interest are international politics, international law and Middle East affairs. Besides that, Joana also takes part of a research group on refugees (GRIGs) and participates of the extension project UFRGSMUN BIS.
Rodrigo Cassel Assistant-Director
Rodrigo dos Santos Cassel is a second year student of International Relations at UFRGS. In 2016, he joined UFRGSMUN’s Academic Staff as Assistant-Director of the committee ADMM+. His first MUN experience was in 2015, when he represented the Russian Federation in the United Nations’ Security Council, in AMUN. Still in 2015, he took part in UFRGSMUN as representative of India in the committee DISEC. Alongside UFRGSMUN, Rodrigo is currently Assistant-Director of the Organization of American States in UFRGSMUNDI, UFRGSMUN’s partner project designed for high school students. Besides that, Rodrigo is also a reasercher of the Centro Brasileiro de Estudos Africanos (CEBRAFRICA). His main interests regarding international relations comprehends the geopolitics of the Indochinese Peninsula, the International Public Law and the economic relations among developing countries.
Maria Gabriela Vieira Assistant-Director
Maria Gabriela de Oliveira Vieira, Assistant-Director of the ADMM+, is a 3rd year student of International Relations at UFRGS. She first took part in a MUN in 2014, at UFRGSMUN, in the World Energy Committee (WEC). In 2015, she joined as a member of UFRGSMUN’s Administrative Staff. She also participates in other activities involving MUNs. She participates in UFRGSMUNDI since 2014 and also of UFRGSMUN Back In School (BIS), which she is one of the coordinators of the 2016 edition. Her main areas of interest are regional integration processes and studies related with Asia and South America.