Monthly Archives: May 2015

Canada's Defence Relations in the Asia Pacific Region

May 2015

As a Pacific country, Canada’s relations with its Asia Pacific neighbours are a key priority. Canadian security and prosperity are linked to the vitality of Asia’s economy and the stability of the region. As a result, the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF) are committed to strengthening peace and security in the region and enhancing their engagement in the Asia Pacific.

Multilateral Defence Relations

Contemporary defence and security challenges in the Asia Pacific region, both traditional and non-traditional, extend beyond the borders of a single state and affect the security and defence of the entire region. Responding to these challenges and mitigating their effects demands multilateral, regional responses: concerted, cooperative efforts that involve many countries pooling their resources, coordinating their efforts and increasing interoperability between armed forces.

Multilateral defence relations are an important component of Canada’s overall engagement in the Asia Pacific region. The cornerstone of Canada’s regional multilateral relations is Canada’s engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a Dialogue Partner, which dates back to 1977. Through engagement with ASEAN, Canada is able to participate in important dialogue on regional defence and security issues.

Under the ASEAN organizational umbrella, Canada also participates in the ASEAN Regional Forum, which is designed to strengthen cooperation amongst member states to foster peace and security in the Asia Pacific region. Canada is committed to contributing further to the Asia Pacific security architecture and has expressed its interest in  joiningthe ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus and the East Asia Summit.

In addition to our engagement with ASEAN, Canada participates in other regional, multilateral defence fora, most notably:

  • The International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Asia Security Summit, commonly known as the Shangri-La Dialogue, which is held annually in Singapore. This premier, inter-governmental event is a crucial venue for dialogue on the security and defence of the region, and is attended by ministers and chiefs of defence from Asia Pacific and beyond. The Dialogue provides an opportunity to discuss regional security issues, exchange best practices and discuss opportunities for increasing collaboration in areas such as peacekeeping, civil-military relations, maritime security, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.

  • The United States Pacific Command Chiefs of Defence Conference, which is a meeting that provides chiefs of defence as well as other senior military leaders in the Asia Pacific region a venue to discuss mutual security challenges and encourage security cooperation.

  • The Jakarta International Defence Dialogue, held annually by Indonesia, which brings together senior civilian and military defence leaders to discuss regional and global security challenges.

  • The Seoul Defence Dialogue, which brings together senior defence officials at the Deputy Minister/Vice Minister level.

  • The Tokyo Defence Forum, which contributes to confidence-building among participating nations through informal discussions and information exchange at the Director General level from countries with an interest in the Asia Pacific region and who possess knowledge and experience in a wide range of security issues including international/defence policy, overseas operations, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, and maritime security.

  • Multinational Planning and Augmentation Team Program, which is a cooperative multinational military program to increase the initial response time to a crisis by multinational forces in the Asia Pacific region. It was established by the Commander of U.S. Pacific Command and the Chiefs of Defense of various nations in the Asia Pacific region in November 2000, following observations from the peace operations in Timor Leste.

Regional Military Exercises

The CAF participate in regional military exercises to strengthen its defence relationships with key regional partners and to develop interoperability with other countries in areas such as maritime operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster response.  

Regional exercises in which Canada participates include:

  • Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), which is the world’s largest international maritime military exercise. Held biennially in the Hawaiian and Southern California area, Canada has participated in every iteration since RIMPAC’s inception in 1971. RIMPAC enables the CAF to develop skills and procedures designed to foster operability, readiness, and communications with partners and crisis response capabilities. In 2014, Canada deployed more than 1,000 CAF personnel, including a Company Group from 3 PPCLI, three ships (HMCS Calgary, HMCS Nanaimo and HMCS Whitehorse), one submarine (HMCS Victoria) and several aircraft (six CF-188 Hornets, one CC-130 Hercules, one CC-150 Polaris and three CP-140 Auroras). The next RIMPAC will be held in 2016, during which Canada is expected to take a command role.

  • COBRA GOLD, which is one of the largest exercises in the region next to RIMPAC. It is held by Thailand with U.S. support and centres on operations and staff work within a multinational coalition environment within a peace enforcement scenario. CAF participation in this exercise is limited to one CAF observer due to the recent military coup in Thailand.

  • ASEAN Regional Forum’s disaster relief exercise (DiREx), which is a training opportunity through which ASEAN countries can exercise coordination of civil-military international assistance to strengthen cooperation in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Canada has attended this exercise with representation from the CAF and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).

  • ULCHI FREEDOM GUARDIAN Exercise, which tests the operational control of the combined forces in defence of the Korean peninsula. Canada’s participation has consisted of personnel from 1st Canadian Division acting as a Division Headquarters under the 1st U.S. Corps. For the past three years, Canada has been invited to and has contributed to this exercise, making the largest contribution of any participant other than the U.S. and the Republic of Korea. In 2014, Canada contributed 95 personnel from the 1st Canadian Division to participate in the tactical level portion of the exercise.

  • KEY RESOLVE/FOAL EAGLE exercise series in the Republic of Korea, which are a command post and a field training exercise respectively. The exercises are designed to improve the combined and joint operational posture of South Korean and U.S. military forces. The field exercise, Foal Eagle, is purely defensive and tests the capability of South Korea to defend itself, assisted by the U.S. Armed Forces. In 2014, Canada contribution to these exercises were six staff officers and one observer respectively.

  • The KHAAN QUEST exercise series, which is a peacekeeping operations focused, combined training event between U.S. Army Pacific and Marine Corps Forces Pacific, hosted annually by the Mongolian Armed Forces. The exercises are designed to enhance individual and professional readiness and tactical interoperability in the delivery of humanitarian assistance between regional partners. Canada’s planned CAF contribution for 2015 consists of eight medical personnel, six engineers and two Joint Counter Explosive Threat Task Force personnel.

  • Operation RENDER SAFE, which is a multinational, Australian Defence Force (ADF) lead Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) clearance operation. Held bi-annually, this operation aims to reduce the explosive hazard to the local population, mitigate the potential recovery of ERW by criminal or terrorist organizations and to assist with capacity building of local police/defence forces. Canada has participated in this operation with a team of 10 personnel.

  • Operation DRIFTNET, which is Canada’s participation in multinational efforts to control drift netting and other forms of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing in the North Pacific Ocean. It is a recurring CAF operation in support of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO); DFO Fishery Officers conduct surveillance patrols over the high-threat zone in the international waters of the North Pacific Ocean aboard Royal Canadian Air Force CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft.

Bilateral Defence Relations

Bilateral defence relations between Canada and individual Asia Pacific states are another important component of DND/CAF’s engagement in the region. In addition to bilateral defence relations with partners in the Asia Pacific region, Canada signed a Canada-U.S. Asia Pacific Defense Policy Cooperation Framework with the U.S. in November 2013. This Framework provides the foundation for Canada and the U.S. to coordinate recurring and mutually reinforcing defence-related engagement activities with our Asian partners. 

Bilateral Defence Relations: North East Asia

DND/CAF is engaged in initiatives in China, Japan, and South Korea in support of a whole-of-government approach that seeks to enhance Canada’s bilateral relationships with North East Asian countries.

Canada recognizes that China is an important economic and military power. To complement Canada’s broader bilateral relationship, DND/CAF has been enhancing its engagement with the Ministry of National Defence of the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. Since 2012, Canada has been advancing this emerging bilateral defence relationship through several high-level meetings, which culminated in Canada’s and China’s defence ministers signing the non-binding Cooperation Plan Initiative between the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Canada’s Defence Team in August 2013. The Cooperation Plan Initiative is designed to guide the further development of bilateral defence relations, and encompasses defence-related activities that demonstrate reciprocal value, are modest in nature and are enduring in the long-term. DND/CAF’s engagement activities with the PLA currently include strategic military-military talks, reciprocal visits by government and military officials, academic exchanges and promoting links between the various components of the military.

Canada is committed to increasing defence cooperation and engagement with Japan, a valued regional security partner. Currently, Canada cooperates with Japan on issues such as defence policy, interoperability and cross-services, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, disaster prevention and emergency response and peacekeeping. Japan was also added as an implementation partner of Canada’s Military Training and Cooperation Program in 2012. Japan has since contributed to the program by providing instructors and lecturers on two MTCP Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) tactical courses conducted in Tanzania (2012) and Senegal (2013), and on a UN Military Observer Course conducted in Indonesia (2014). Bilateral agreements help deepen the defence relationship, including most notably the 2010 Canada-Japan Joint Declaration on Political, Peace and Security Cooperation. The Joint Declaration established a framework for regular bilateral interactions between Canada’s deputy ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence, and their Japanese counterparts, known as the “2+2” Dialogue, which provides strategic guidance to the areas of defence and security cooperation. Another notable treaty is the Canada-Japan Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), which was agreed to in principle by Canada’s and Japan’s Prime Ministers in September 2013 and is pending approval by both countries’ parliamentary processes. Once approved, the Treaty will be a milestone in the bilateral defence relationship as it will enable the CAF and Japan’s Self-Defense Force units to exchange basic goods and services wherever both forces are cooperating, such as during training, exercises, and a limited range of operations, particularly humanitarian assistance missions.

Canada has long enjoyed positive bilateral defence relations with the Republic of Korea (ROK). These defence relations have a foundation in the Canadian contribution to the Korean War and have evolved into a rich history of strong political and economic partnerships and cooperation, which continues to advance. In 2011, Canada committed to fill five positions at the unified command structure for the multinational military forces supporting the ROK during and after the Korean War, the United Nations Command (UNC) in Seoul. This demonstrates Canada’s commitment to the security of the peninsula and increasing cooperation in the region, and provides a vital foundation for the broad Canada-ROK bilateral defence relationship. Canada also fosters bilateral defence relations with the ROK through bilateral defence agreements, such as the Mutual Logistics Support Memorandum of Understanding, which enables improved logistical exchange and increased interoperability between Canada and ROK military forces. Canada and the ROK continue to explore new areas and avenues of cooperation, including through enhanced collaboration during key regional forums, and, specifically by continued CAF participation in exercises on the Korean Peninsula, such as Ulchi Freedom Guardian, Key Resolve and Foal Eagle.

Bilateral Defence Relations: South East Asia

While Canada primarily engages its South East Asian partners multilaterally through ASEAN, the DND/CAF are also expanding defence relations and initiatives in the region on a bilateral basis. These defence relations reflect the priority the DND/CAF place on mutual security and cooperative interests. Bilateral relations are being cultivated through a number of activities, including: high-level meetings undertaken by officials such as the Minister of National Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff; ship visits, such as the February 2014 visit of HMCS Regina to Singapore and the 2013 visit of HMCS Regina to Port Klang, Malaysia, and Manila, Philippines; and defence education cooperation.

Defence education cooperation, through the Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP), represents one of the most significant areas of bilateral relations with South East Asian states, particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia.

  • Indonesia was named as an MTCP “Centre of Excellence,” with CAF and Indonesian forces partnering to provide training in Indonesia to military personnel from Asia Pacific MTCP member states. Indonesia is both a priority member state of the MTCP and one of its top recipients, both in terms of budget and positions on courses. Since 2012, the Directorate of Military Training and Cooperation (DMTC) sponsored several courses and workshops on peace support operations and public affairs in Indonesia.

  • Malaysia has been identified as an MTCP country of focus. Malaysian military personnel receive English-language training, staff training and peacekeeping operations training in Canada. In August 2014, a CAF logistics officer began an initial two-year posting to the Malaysian Peace Support Training Centre in Port Dickson, which will help expand the Centre’s training capacity on UN mission logistics. Additionally, Canadian Special Operations Forces and their Malaysian counterparts have recently entered into a three-year training exchange partnership.

Bilateral Defence Relations: Oceania

Located in the Central and South Pacific Ocean, Canada has long enjoyed positive bilateral defence relations in Oceania, particularly with Australia and New Zealand, which are both members of the Five Eyes intelligence community.

Defence relations between Canada and Australia are deep and enduring, with Australia being one of Canada’s closest partners in the Asia Pacific region and globally. Canada and Australia share a common outlook on international security issues as well as a like-minded approach to operations. Bilateral relations are fostered by commitments to hold regular ministerial and chief of defence meetings and policy talks. Canada and Australia have a solid foundation of defence cooperation including exercises, training, academic exchanges and high-level visits. The CAF participated in Operation RENDER SAFE 2014, Australia’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal support to the nations of the South West Pacific region. Canada plans to continue participating in this exercise on a biennial basis.

Canada and New Zealand are also like-minded defence partners and enjoy a robust history of defence cooperation. Historically, the CAF and the New Zealand Defence Forces (NZDF) have worked together in a number of international security operations, such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, and East Timor. Since 2005, the CAF and the NZDF have participated in CANZEX (Canada New Zealand Exchange), a program that includes joint training and enhances cooperation and interoperability on a range of issues from training to operations to human resources policies. This program has led to further training opportunities, such as CAF participation in Exercise SOUTHERN KATIPO, which is a multi-nation, tri-service exercise hosted by New Zealand to practice operational planning, execution and command and control of a deployed Combined Joint Task Force during an amphibious operation.

Bilateral Defence Relations: South West Asia

South West Asia covers the area from Afghanistan in the west to India in the east, and extends north as far as the former Soviet republics and south into the Indian Ocean. Canada has deep links to this region; a significant number of Canadian families trace their roots back to South West Asia, which includes several members of the Commonwealth.

Canada has an important and expanding relationship with India. Canada and India share common values, including a commitment to democracy and pluralism. In April 2015, the Prime Ministers of Canada and India agreed to explore potential areas of defence cooperation, including cold climate warfare, peacekeeping, participation in respective Defence Staff College training and examining opportunities to enhance naval linkages and staff exchanges. Defence technology is another area of defence cooperation between Canada and India; Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and its Indian counterpart, the Defence Research and Development Organisation of India, signed a Statement of Intent in January 2015, aiming to explore cooperation in defence and security science and technology.

Pakistan remains an important partner for Canada in the global fight against terrorism, and Canada and Pakistan continue to work together to enhance defence and security in the region. Canada and Pakistan’s bilateral defence relationship is supported by high level visits and defence education cooperation. Canada and Pakistan maintain an active staff college exchange, with Pakistan sending officers to the Canadian Forces College and Canada regularly sending an officer at the major rank level to the Army Staff College in Quetta. Through the Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP), officers from the Pakistan military have participated in Canada’s senior-level National Security Programme.

Canada’s enduring relationship with Afghanistan continues after our military training mission ended in March 2014. Canadians will not forget the sacrifices of the 158 CAF members and 1 diplomat who died working on behalf of Canada to help bring security to the Afghan people. To ensure the future stability of a secure and democratic Afghanistan, Canada continues to provide financial support to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Canada’s ultimate goal remains to sustain the gains that have been made since the fall of the Taliban regime and help Afghans rebuild Afghanistan into a viable country that is better governed, more stable and secure, and never again a safe haven for terrorists.

The Military Training and Cooperation Program

The Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP) is an important instrument of defence diplomacy and contributes to Canada’s ongoing efforts to build enduring partnerships with regional partners. In line with the Government of Canada’s strategic priorities, MTCP activities in the Asia Pacific region are aimed at:

  • Enhancing peace support operations’ capacity and interoperability among Canada’s partners;

  • Expanding and reinforcing Canadian bilateral defence relations; and,

  • Promoting Canadian democratic principles, the rule of law and the protection of human rights in the international arena.

The MTCP operates a number of training programs throughout the Asia Pacific region, including in 10 active member countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea, and Singapore. Thailand has been suspended as an MTCP member country as part of the Government of Canada’s response to the 2014 military coup in Thailand.

MTCP uses a ‘train-the-trainer’ approach, and focuses primarily on peace support operations, military staff courses, and professional development activities such as second language courses, which are held both in Canada and various locations around the world.

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Mousawi: Certain Medias have deteriorated morally

NNA – Certain Lebanese Medias have deteriorated morally, Hizbullah deputy of the House Nawwaf Mousawi, stated during the funeral of a slain party member at the Housayniyyah mosque of Khiyam today.

As Saudi-sponsored Medias deteriorated far beyond human recognition, our party solely undertakes the defense of the country against ISL/NOSRA onslaught, he stressed. Regardless of the magnitude of anti-party incitement mounted against our fallen by mercenaries on Saudi payroll, we warn them against going too far in their debased criticism of the party, Mousawi charged.

Hizbullah expects the Lebanese government to liberate Arsal from ISIL/NUSRA occupation otherwise, Beqaa clansmen who liberated South Lebanon from Israeli occupation would never hesitate to take matters into their hands and flush terrorists out, he threatened.

As we need nobody’s permission to defend ourselves, we regard the treacherous attitude of Saudi mercenaries a prelude towards their jumping on ISIL/NOSRA inhuman bandwagon, he said.

Whoever poses as a facade for Takfeerist designs here and in Syria, sows seeds of religious sectarian strife and we shall stop them from doing so, Mousawi concluded.

=====G.G./R.K.

Italians vote in local polls posing test fo…

NNA – Italians voted Sunday in regional elections seen as a key measure of the fading fortunes of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi and an important test for center-left Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Twenty million voters are eligible to elect governors in seven of the country’s 20 regions, as well as the mayors of more than 700 municipalities.

The polls are the first in Italy, which is slowly emerging from recession, since European elections a year ago in which Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD) won with just over 40 percent of the vote.

Observers will also be looking closely at the battle on the right between the anti-immigration Northern League, led by rising star Matteo Salvini, and Berlusconi’s Forza Italia (Go Italy).

The 78-year-old media magnate is keen on making a political comeback after his acquittal on charges of paying for underage sex and a stint of community service for tax fraud.

Thirty elected members of Forza Italia have already announced their departure to join the man once considered Berlusconi’s heir apparent, Raffaele Fitto, who has broken away from the old leader.

A key test for Renzi will come in the northern region of Liguria, where the PD’s candidate faces rivals in both a left-wing dissident and the right-wing Giovanni Toti, supported by both the Northern League and Forza Italia.

At present, five of the seven regions holding elections are governed by the left, one is led by the League and another by Forza Italia.

In Campania in the south, the PD’s candidate Vincenzo De Luca, fighting the Forza Italia incumbent, has been named in a list of 17 “unpresentable” candidates by an anti-mafia commission.

De Luca has a conviction for abuse of power and faces trial on other charges, including fraud, and could be banned from taking office.

Although an embarrassment for Renzi, the 40-year-old premier’s popularity appears to remain high after nearly a year and a half at the helm.

Polls opened at 7:00 am (0500 GMT) and were to close at 11:00 pm, with results expected on Monday.–AFP

===============R.Z.

Speech by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the IISS Shangri-La…

Let me start with a sincere thank you. First of all for the invitation: it is not to be given for granted, that the European Union – that for sure is not an Asian or a Pacific power – is considered relevant in this Dialogue. Still, it is. Very much so. We share economic relations, investments and trade interests – and that is evident to everybody, especially here in Singapore. But we share much more than that: political partnerships, security cooperation, global challenges to which we need to give responses that will be effective only if they will be joint ones. From terrorism to climate change, from natural disasters to cyber-attacks, the threats we face today have no borders – they are global by nature, bydefinition. And we need strong, global partnerships to face them.

That’s why it is natural to be here. To invest in our friendship. That’s why you find a lot of Europe, if you look at the people around you in this room.
And let me come here to my second big “thank you”: to my friends that here with me, in these days, have represented Europe. Because the EU is not just institutions in Brussels: it’s a family, a community, where we share values, interests, visions, a lot of history (often a difficult one) but most of all we share a lot of common future. And when you say “Europe”, you say all of us – each different, but all together.

So let me thank the Defence Minister of Germany, Ursula; of the UK, Michael; of Spain, Pedro; friends and colleagues representing other EU Member States like France, the European Parliament, European business, think tanks and research institutes, and last but not least the Chairman of the EU Military Committee, General De Rousiers, that is now an abituee of this dialogue.

Because yes, the EU has a military dimension as well: our economic face is the one most Asians (and also most Europeans!) are more familiar with. And this is natural. It is good, also: there are more goods and services travelling between Europe and Asia than across the Atlantic. That is amazing to us as well. We are one of the major investors in this continent, both in qualitative and quantitative terms, and the biggest development donor. But our engagement with Asia goes well beyond trade, investment, and aid. It’s political. It’s strategical. And it needs to develop more also in the security field.
Four out of ten of the EU Strategic Partners are Asian countries: China, Japan, India and the Republic of Korea. It is not by chance that I have personally travelled to the region twice in less than one month, and in the very beginning of my mandate: I was in Japan for our EU-Japan Summit just before flying here, in Seoul and Beijing a few weeks ago. And we are preparing to host the EU-China Summit in Brussels at the end of June, while a Summit with South Korea is also planned. I am here today, I will come back again in the region in August for the ASEAN Regional Forum in Kuala Lumpur, and I look forward to chairing the ASEM Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg in November.
So yes, we are here, even if we are clearly not part of the region, because we are partners of your region. And we believe it is our reciprocal interest to invest even more in our friendship and in the work we can jointly do for the security of our people.
So please, please don’t look at us just as a big free trade area: the European Union is also a foreign policy community, a security and defence provider. For our own people – within our borders and in the rest of the world; in our own region – that, we know, at the moment is one of the most turbulent ones, and we are ready to take more responsibility to bring security and stability in our part of the world, together with our neighbours; and with our global partners – Asia included.

As while the EU continues to be deeply engaged IN Asia, we want to be more and more engaged WITH Asia, to address together our common challenges, and to take full advantage of our common opportunities.
In today’s world no region is as dynamic as Asia. There would be really good reasons to be optimistic about Asia’s future. Still, the world of economics is closely connected to the world of security. And security threats are multiplying by the day. The most striking feature of Asia today is this unique combination of optimism, dynamism and fragility.
We see signals of rivalries among powers re-emerging. Some maritime disputes are far from being settled. I believe we cannot afford it.
We, Europe and Asia, have a strong interest in global security. A very basic interest regards the freedom of navigation on the arteries of the global economy: it is basic but essential, if you think of how integrated economic supply chains have become.
We have a direct interest in the respect for international law. We believe regionalism and multilateralism are the framework for cooperative international relations. And cooperation calls for everyone to play by the same rules. Agreed rules make states secure, people free and companies willing to invest. When some decide to play by their own rules, cooperation gives way to confrontation ̶ and in today’s world that is bad news for everyone.

The same applies to maritime disputes, too. We need to maintain a maritime order based on international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. We are not getting into the legitimacy of specific claims, but we are resolute as Europeans on HOW they should be resolved  ̶  that is, peacefully, without the use or threat of force.
We support the ASEAN-China negotiations for a Code of Conduct and we hope they can be concluded soon.

The region, and the world, can only benefit from a cooperative order. Our own European experience tells us that regional integration is about prosperity, but it is also about security. And it brings added value to all.
As Ursula just said this morning, in Europe “we partly gave up national sovereignty but we gained way more economic and political power”. Each region has and will have its own way to integration – for sure it is not about “exporting” models. But we can for sure be “partners in integration”, sharing experiences and supporting each others – in particular with ASEAN.

As we are working towards an upgrade in our cooperation with ASEAN, we have just adopted a policy setting out our vision of “a partnership with a strategic purpose”. Not just vague ideas on increased cooperation: this time we list a number of concrete commitments and priorities.
(1) The EU has unique means and expertise on what ASEAN calls Connectivity, or eliminating barriers among member countries. With no other organisation in the world can ASEAN discuss Connectivity at a continental scale, including issues as the single market, aviation, research, higher education.
(2) We are more than doubling our assistance to ASEAN, increasing itto €170 million euros. Add our bilateral assistance to ASEAN member states and the figure gets close to 3 billion euros. We also expect to use bilateral free-trade agreements as stepping stones towards a full region-to-region Free Trade Agreement.
(3) Our cooperation on non-traditional security is a huge growth area. The EU-ASEAN High Level Dialogue in Malaysia last month was an opportunity to exchange the lessons we learned on piracy, maritime surveillance, port security. We are enhancing dialogue on disaster relief combined with greater capacity-building, and we are increasing our engagement in the ASEAN Regional Forum (last year the EU organised the first-ever ARF training on preventive diplomacy and mediation).
(4) In this light, it is quite obvious that we are talking about substantive steps towards a strategic partnership, heeding the call from ASEAN for a greater EU involvement in the region.

And here we are in the region. We are here because we believe we have to work more and more together. Prime Minister Lee in his keynote speech on Friday reminded us all that we share common challenges, starting from terrorism, prevention of radicalization and violent extremism. This is a top priority in our European political agenda. And we can only benefit from working more on that together, because the threath we are facing has no borders, no State, no region: is global.

Defeating Daesh and other terrorist groups is not just about military power. It is necessary, but it won’t be sufficient. We will need a stabilised and inclusive Iraq, a Syria that finally heads towards national reconciliation, and a fully successful transition in Afghanistan. Just to start with. The only path towards stability, in the long run, is built on democracy and the respect for human rights. These tasks call for a truly global alliance among civilizations. And we need to work in our home countries, as the boundaries between external and domestic threats have quickly disappeared. Europe and Asia can do so much together, learning from each other, for example on confronting the terrorists’ recruitment practices, preventing radicalization, or supporting capacity building in partner countries.

Complex threats call for articulated responses, mixing military and civilian tools, good reflexes to act fast and foresight to prevent new crises. We know, in the EU, that we need to use our tools better. That we need to deserve our Nobel Peace Prize not only for our history – and stilllet me say, our history has a particular value today, a value that the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War reminds us every single day. But we need to transform the lessons we learned in our past, in willingness and capacity to play a role – a major role – for the future. I take this as my main responsibility: that of using all the potential that the EU has, all our tools, all our policies, all our strength, in a coordinated and coherent way. Not easy, but possible. And very much needed.

A big part of my job as Vice President of the European Commission is coordinating all Commissioners whose portfolio can impact on our common foreign policy – and we are finding out that that means potentially all Commissioners, as there is no field of work that nowadays is purely internal. It’s a team that is capable of dealing with trade, development, humanitarian aid but also energy, counterterrorism, climate and migration. The same goes for the coordination of our 28 Member States: a work we do not just with all European Foreign ministers, but also with those of Defence, the development ministers, and more and more often the Interior ones.
Let me confess that our machine can sometimes be a bit complicated, yes. But we do have the tools to ensure the whole is more than the sum of its parts. And we are finally starting to make good use of them. Including the military ones.
Maybe not many people in this part of world – and not even in Europe,and its part of my job – are aware that the EU has been deploying its personnel in crisis zones for more than ten years. We are currently running five military and eleven civilian missions on three continents; 7000 women and men are deployed under the EU flag, taking risks for peace.
Some Asian partners are contributing to our Common Security and Defence operations. Take the Atalanta mission, the EU naval operation in the Horn of Africa, which helped to bring down piracy attacks from 163 in 2009 to only two last year. And it is not a issue today, but it was some years ago. As part of this campaign, we have undertaken security cooperation with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Expanding our cooperation also in this field carries a huge potential.

The work we do together for our common security is not limited to the elements I mentioned. But I am afraid my time is limited, so I’ll stop here. And I’ll stop by saying that indeed, our security today in indivisible: thinking of zero sum games brings us completely out of reality. Our interdependence forces us to work together, to build partnerships – strong ones and when both parties are strong, partnership is strong – to defuse tensions and invest in cooperation.

That is why we are here. Not for an attempt to change geography and pretend we are part of the region – we limit our ambitions to the reasonable ones! – but because we know that we need each other, in today’s world. So, count on us. Count on Europe. As we count on you. We want to be engaged IN Asia; we want to partner WITH Asia; and I know that together we can work FOR Asia, for Europe and for a world more stable, prosperous and peaceful.

Looking forward to do that together in the next five years.
Thank you.

Weather forecast: Partly cloudy, warmer tem…

NNA – The meteorology department at Rafik Hariri International Airport forecasted Monday’s weather to be partly cloudy with fog formations over the mountains and a notable increase in temperatures. Scattered rains are also to be expected, particularly in southern regions.

Coastal temperatures: 19 to 26 degrees Celsius.

Mountain-range temperatures: 14 to 24 degrees Celsius.

Inland temperatures: 14 to 31 degrees Celsius.

Surface winds: South-westerly during the morning, shift to north-westerly in the afternoon with speeds between 10 and 30 km/hr.

Sea: Calm waters with surface temperature at 24 degrees Celsius.

Sunrise: 05:28 a.m.

Sunset: 07:43 p.m.

==============R.Z.