Asia Pacific Security Seminar

Co-Chairs’ Summary Study Meeting of the Twelfth Asia-Pacific Security Seminar (APSS)

Held at the National Institute for Defense Studies November 14-22, 2005

  1. The Twelfth APSS was held in Tokyo with participation of delegates from 21 countries: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Kingdom of Cambodia, Canada, People’s Republic of China, India, Republic of Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Mongolia, Union of Myanmar, New Zealand, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Republic of the Philippines, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, Russian Federation, Republic of Singapore, Kingdom of Thailand, and the United States of America.
  2. APSS study sessions were divided into four parts: Introductory Session and Sessions One to Three. In the Introductory Session, the keynote speech by Professor Kenji Isezaki of Rikkyo University shed light on an emerging challenge for the armed forces in war-torn countries: Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR). Participants were also briefed on Japan’s efforts in security dialogues, new National Defense Program Guidelines and defense posture in a time of change.
  3. In Sessions One to Three, the agenda were three-fold: Roles of Armed Forces in Disaster Relief Operation, Roles of Armed Forces in Post-conflict Reconstruction, and Future Challenges and Regional Cooperation.
  4. In Session One, the participants shared the experiences of countries affected by Tsunami in December 2004 and of assisting countries. Due to the devastation of the Tsunami, international cooperation was necessary to deal with disaster relief operations. Armed forces had to cooperate with many actors, namely, international organizations, local civil organizations, NGOs and others. Civil-Military coordination was crucial in sharing assets and capabilities for transportation, matching supply and demand, and providing medical care.
  5. The participants agreed that coordination should be based upon the consent of the affected countries in disaster relief operations. As the primary role of the armed forces is to assist recovery in affected area, its early departure is important.
  6. In Sessions Two and Three, the participants compared the roles of armed forces in postconflict operations with those in disaster relief operations. In a war-torn society, the central authority may be almost non-existent, which makes civil-military coordination more complex and difficult. In postconflict operations, the armed forces have to assume much wider responsibilities, such as maintaining law and order, managing internal security, and promoting reconciliation among former combatants. In implementing these new tasks, armed forces will need pre-conflict education and training. Some participants emphasized the importance of support from the host nation and international community for an effective execution of mission.
  7. In meeting these new challenges, the Participants agreed on the need for continued effort to promote security dialogue among Asia-Pacific countries. Several participants emphasized the need for networking "centers of excellence" in disaster relief and postconflict operations. Several participants proposed to elaborate on Standard Operating Procedures for multilateral cooperation.
  8. It was agreed that the outcome of the Twelfth APSS would be reported at the occasion of next ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Meeting of Heads of Defense Universities/Colleges/ Institutions. Many participants also agreed to report the findings of the seminar to their respective authorities.

NOTE: APSS has been held annually since 1994, and is designed to enhance multilateral security dialogue to foster mutual confidence among participating countries. Its basic objectives share much with those of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Meeting of Heads of Defense Universities/Colleges/ Institutions. The summary of the Eleventh APSS was submitted to the meeting held in Vietnam October 2005.

The APSS process has experienced both a deepening and widening of security dialogue since its foundation. It was inaugurated with delegates from 13 countries in 1994, but this year we welcome 21 countries. Most participants were colonel / lieutenant colonel rank officers or equivalent who had much expertise in defense planning and/or related security issues.

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