AKIPRESS.COM - Southeast Asian countries agreed on Friday to guidelines to manage unexpected encounters between their military aircraft, with host Singapore calling the pact a world first and saying they would encourage their international partners to join, Reuters reports.
The agreement, signed by defense ministers of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at a conference in Singapore, includes a region-wide pact on the exchange of information on terrorism threats.
The voluntary, non-binding guidelines on air encounters build on an existing code to manage sea encounters adopted last year by ASEAN and its “plus” partners - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the United States.
In August, Southeast Asian nations and China adopted a negotiating framework for a broader code of conduct in the South China Sea.
The ASEAN states also agreed to adopt the “our eyes” initiative as a platform to exchange information on “terrorism, radicalism, and violent extremism, and other non-traditional threats”.
They also agreed to set up a “virtual” network of chemical, biological and radiological defense experts to “better share best practices and make quick contact during crises”.