KUALA LUMPUR: The 22nd ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) on Thursday will see the adoption of several work plans and initiatives to guide the ARF process for the Inter-Sessional Year 2015/2016, said Malaysian Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.
He said the work plans aimed to tackle several issues affecting the region, such as maritime security, disaster relief, counter-terrorism, transnational crime, security and the use of information and communication technology.
“The ARF work plans and initiatives will mount a stronger collaboration between the ARF participating countries towards addressing political security issues compounding the region and towards the establishment of the ASEAN Political-Security Community,” he told Bernama.
Kuala Lumpur is hosting the 48th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Post-Ministerial Conferences and Related Meetings at Putra World Trade Centre here from Aug 1 to 6.
Elaborating on the ARF, Anifah said one of the main highlights of the 22nd ARF involving 27 countries would be the constructive exchange views on regional and international issues including on the developments in the Korean Peninsula.
“The ARF is the only platform in the region to have both the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea present to engage in constructive dialogue with the rest of the 25 ARF participating countries towards strengthening peace and stability in the region,” he added.
Rising tension was reported in the Korean Peninsula when South Korea recently rejected North Korea’s call to end joint South Korea-United States military exercises.
Seoul on the other hand, defending the joint moves as only “defensive” in nature.
ARF is a key forum for security dialogue in Asia which draws together 27 members which have a bearing on the security of the Asia Pacific region.
The 27 participating countries are Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, China, North Korea, European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippine, South Korea, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, United States and Vietnam.