On October 16, China hosted ASEAN defense ministers for the first-ever informal meeting of this kind in Beijing. Thailand’s news media, Matichon says China will send coordinator on national security to permanently station at ASEAN (source).
Apart from the Beijing meet, ASEAN also recently held a defense minister meet, and even with China’s aggressiveness, in claiming all of South China Sea the area, and reject challenging claims from other countries in the area, ASEAN was cautious and did not mention the problems in the South China Seas. Meanwhile, China, which have been building artificial islands to establish a more solid claim and launch-pad for military activity, also reject a world arbitrary accepting Philippines challenge to China’s claim, and said it would not accept the arbitration.
Even with all this aggression, that have demanded the US exhibit freedom of navigation, and sent warship close to the islands, the European Union, reports Reuters, also made no condemnation of China, as the union is looking forward for China’s money to help the union recover from the economic crisis with infrastructure funding, Reuters report.
However, the union did call for the respect to international law.
China has a long track-record of spying activity:
Let the China Spying of ASEAN military begin?
Chinese intelligence operations in the United States (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_intelligence_operations_in_the_United_States)
Chinese intelligence activity abroad (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_intelligence_activity_abroad)
U.S. counterintelligence chief skeptical China has curbed spying on U.S. (see http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/19/us-usa-cybersecurity-idUSKCN0T72XG20151119)
Chinese hackers spying on American cloud (see http://www.pcworld.com/article/2066188/chinese-hackers-spying-on-american-cloud.html)
Cyber-Espionage Nightmare (see http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/538201/cyber-espionage-nightmare/)
How China Steals U.S. Military Secrets (see http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/a746/3319656/)
China: Spying the Friendly Skies? (see http://fortscale.com/blog/china-spying-the-friendly-skies-2/)
How the F.B.I. Cracked a Chinese Spy Ring (see http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/how-the-f-b-i-cracked-a-chinese-spy-ring)
China Plays Down MI5 Cyber-Spying Concerns (see http://news.sky.com/story/1571668/china-plays-down-mi5-cyber-spying-concerns)
US accuses Chinese professors of spying (see http://www.cnbc.com/2015/05/19/us-accuses-chinese-professors-of-spying.html)
The Diplomats reports (source)
“On October 16, China hosted ASEAN defense ministers for the first-ever informal meeting of this kind in Beijing.
For China, it is the realization of a proposal it has been floating for years to boost defense ties with Southeast Asian states (See: “China to Hold First Meeting with ASEAN Defense Ministers in Beijing”).”
“For ASEAN, it is another step in the deepening of the regional grouping’s security relations with major powers. Despite the singular focus on China, a point often missed amidst sensationalist headlines is that this comes after the holding of similar ‘first’ defense ministerials with the United States and Japan in 2014. The timing and sequence of these events is not insignificant.”
“But beyond this general significance, what did China aim to achieve at this inaugural meeting? Close observers of ASEAN-China relations know that China is fond of making proposals in numerical terms – with the “2 + 7 cooperation framework” in 2013 and the “ten point proposal” in 2015 being just two recent examples of this (See: “Beijing Unveils New Strategy for ASEAN-China Relations”).”
“Things were no different at the first ACDMIM. Chinese defense minister Chang Wanquan, who chaired the meeting, put forth a “five point proposal” for boosting security and defense cooperation between China and ASEAN.”
“But among these, the fifth one has garnered the most attention. That is no surprise, since China has proposed the holding of both a joint drill involving the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) as well as another one involving maritime search and rescue and disaster relief in the South China Sea. Yet as I pointed out in a separate piece for The Diplomat, these proposals are not as revolutionary as they seem (See: “The Truth About China’s New South China Drill Proposal With ASEAN”). In particular, the South China Sea joint exercise – while intended to seem like a conciliatory gesture to calm tensions – is quite limited in scope and will not be without its challenges if it is pursued alongside China’s illegal artificial-island building and militarization campaign. As I note in the piece, a Philippine senior naval commander told Reuters rather cheekily that Manila welcomed the proposal as it offered an opportunity to verify if China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea truly had no military purpose.”
About the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)
The Chairman of the ADMM is the ASEAN Chair and its rotation follows the ASEAN chairmanship.
For the period of January – December 2015, the Chairman of the ADMM and the ASEAN Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting (ADSOM) are as follows:
Chairman of ADMM:
Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein
Minister of Defence
Chairman of ADSOM:
YBhg. Dato Sri Abdul Rahim bin Mohamad Radzi
Ministry of Defence
About the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)
The objectives of the ADMM, as outlined in the Concept Paper for the Establishment of an ADMM endorsed at the Inaugural ADMM in Kuala Lumpur on 9 May 2006, are as follows:
To promote regional peace and stability through dialogue and cooperation in defence and security;
To give guidance to existing senior defence and military officials dialogue and cooperation in the field of defence and security within ASEAN and between ASEAN and dialogue partners;
To promote mutual trust and confidence through greater understanding of defence and security challenges as well as enhancement of transparency and openness; and
To contribute to the establishment of an ASC as stipulated in the Bali Concord II and to promote the implementation of the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP) on ASC.
About the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM-Plus)
The Concept Paper on ADMM-Plus: Principles for Membership, adopted at the Third ADMM, Pattaya, 25-27 February 2009 stipulated the principles for membership to the ADMM-Plus process, as follows:
The Plus country shall be a full-fledged Dialogue Partner of ASEAN;
The Plus country shall have significant interactions and relations with ASEAN defence establishment; and
The Plus country shall be able to work with the ADMM to build capacity so as to enhance regional security in a substantive way in order to promote capacity-building in the region in the fields of defence and security.
The ADMM-Plus countries include ten ASEAN Member States, namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, and eight Plus countries, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, ROK, Russian Federation and the United States.