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Good omen for Asia-Pacific

By Lu Yin | China Daily | Updated: 2013-08-29 09:52

The second ADMM-Plus - ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting plus their eight dialogue partners - in Brunei on Aug 29 will witness the second meeting between Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan and US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in 10 days.

The unprecedented second meeting between a Chinese defense minister and US secretary of defense in 10 days - the two held a meeting at the Pentagon on Aug 19 - highlights the progress China-US military-to-military relations have made. In more ways than one, this is a good omen for the once unpredictable security atmosphere in the Asia-Pacific region.

China and the US are expected to continue their positive interaction to maintain peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific, so that all countries in the region can jointly address the challenges and share the accruing benefits. But apart from closer contacts and interactions among the large countries, a stable Asia-Pacific security structure also requires the involvement of the relatively small countries in the region. It is precisely in this aspect that the ADMM-Plus can play a vital role as a regional security cooperation platform to balance the roles of the big and small countries.

The ADMM-Plus is a relatively new regional platform - the first meeting was held in Hanoi, Vietnam, in October 2010 - and comprises the 10 ASEAN member countries and their eight dialogue partners - the United States, the only superpower, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea, four developed countries, and China, Russia and India, three BRICS member states. Such a non-aligned combination of powerful and not-so-powerful, and big and not-so-big countries is well suited to deal with the security challenges in the region.

The international order is undergoing historical changes, which will trigger great reforms and give birth to new regional and global mechanisms. And compared with the existing regional security cooperation mechanisms, the ADMM-Plus has some of the salient features that a new structure should have.

First, the ADMM-Plus is the region's highest and only defense ministries-led multilateral defense and security dialogue cooperation mechanism. It is also the most representative.

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