New Zealand welcomes ASEAN Regional Forum representatives for Defence Dialogue

Minister of Defence Ron Mark opened the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) Defence Officials’ Dialogue in Auckland today, welcoming delegates from the 27-strong ARF membership. New Zealand is co-hosting the one day Dialogue with Singapore.

“Today’s meeting brings together a broad representation of defence officials from across the Asia-Pacific. It is an opportunity for attendees to develop their networks and discuss contemporary security issues with regional counterparts.” Mr Mark said.

“Forums like this fulfil an important role in reducing the risk of regional conflict by promoting understanding, building habits of dialogue and facilitating practical cooperation.”

The meeting is focused on defence cooperation and regional security issues. Counter-Terrorism and Chemical, Radiological and Biological Defence were the two major topics of discussion.

New Zealand is an active contributor to ASEAN-centric security forums, including the East Asia Summit, the ARF and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus.

The ARF Defence Officials’ Dialogue is an annual meeting. New Zealand last co-hosted this meeting in 2012 with Cambodia.

The ARF membership includes: Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, European Union, India, Indonesia, Japan, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste, United States, and Viet Nam.