Singapore hosted the event, called the pact a world first, and said they would encourage their international partners to join. 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. “I am happy to announce the first multilateral guidelines for air encounters between military aircraft have been adopted,” Singapore’s defense minister, Ng Eng Hen, told a news conference. “This is a significant achievement.” The ASEAN ministers will meet their eight international partners on Saturday and Ng said they would “seek their agreement” on the guidelines. The framework for the guidelines said a pact was needed because Asia’s rising growth and prosperity had spurred an increase of maritime and air traffic in the region. The United States and China in 2015 signed a pact on a military hotline and rules governing air-to-air encounters. But even with the existing guidelines, tensions… Read full this story
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