Phetchaburi: The Defence Ministry remains committed to promoting cooperation among the armies of Asean members while also focusing on neutrality in a time of external pressures.
The message was part of the speech by the Defence Minister, Sutin Klungsang, given at the opening ceremony of the 24th Asean Chiefs of Army Multilateral Meeting (Acamm) at the Dusit Thani Hua Hin in Cha-am district yesterday.
The summit also included not only the Acamm but also the 11th Asean Army Sergeant Majors Annual Meeting (Asmam).
The 31st Asean Armies Rifle Meet (Aarm), the region's annual rifle, pistol, and machine gun competition, was also held on this occasion.
Acamm, Asmam, and Aarm are important contributors to stability in the region, as nations need to rely on each other's armed forces.
Cooperation among Asean member states' armed forces has been exhibited particularly during times of crises, but also during normal situations.
Mr Sutin said the aim of the event was designed to prepare the forces for future cooperation against possible external threats such as natural disasters, cyber warfare or transborder human trafficking.
Mr Sutin also said that having policies to promote sustainable security in Asean, especially what he called a "strategic trust", should be a joint effort among members, with the Thai government also prioritising security development along the border to support trade.
When asked if Asean should remain neutral in regional conflicts, he said: "Certainly." Asean should remain neutral despite pressures from big power players. He said it is a challenge, but Asean must stick together and have the same stance.
The Acamm, Asmam, and Aarm events are joined by representatives of 10 countries, including Myanmar.