Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder provided the following readout:
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III concluded his engagements with counterparts in Indonesia today, where he attended the 10th annual ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting (ADMM)-Plus, one year after the United States' elevation of its relationship with ASEAN to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
ADMM-Plus Plenary Session
The Secretary emphasized the U.S. commitment to ASEAN centrality as a key pillar of the United States' efforts to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific and detailed how U.S. security cooperation with ASEAN partners is contributing to a more stable and prosperous region. He discussed U.S. support for a shared regional vision and outlined challenges to that vision, including coercive PRC activities in the South China Sea, the ongoing crisis in Myanmar, destabilizing DPRK proliferation activities, and the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East.
Engagements with Allies and Partners
On the margins of the ADMM-Plus, Secretary Austin participated in a November 15 informal meeting with his ASEAN counterparts. The Secretary detailed U.S. plans to implement the U.S.-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2024 and beyond, including the launch of an Emerging Leaders' Defense Fellowship Program, a Gender Advisors Cooperative Initiative, and continued planning for a second ASEAN-U.S. maritime exercise.
Secretary Austin also met with each of his counterparts from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
In his November 15 meeting with Philippines Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro, both leaders welcomed the historic momentum in the alliance, reaffirmed their shared commitment to support the Philippines' right to conduct lawful maritime activities, denounced the recent PRC harassment of Philippine vessels, and discussed opportunities to strengthen bilateral coordination, interoperability, and support for the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
In his November 15 meeting with Vietnam's Minister of National Defense, General Phan Van Giang, both leaders celebrated the recent upgrade of the U.S.-Vietnam relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. They reaffirmed their long-standing cooperation on legacy of war issues and discussed opportunities to strengthen their defense cooperation in areas including maritime security cooperation.
In his November 16 meeting with Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, both leaders signed a historic Defense Cooperation Arrangement between the United States and Indonesia. They also celebrated the recent upgrade of the bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership by Presidents Biden and Joko Widodo and discussed ways to expand training opportunities, increase educational exchanges, and improve maritime domain awareness.
In his November 16 meeting with Thai Minister of Defense Suthin Klangsaeng, Secretary Austin congratulated his counterpart on Minister Suthin's recent appointment, and the two leaders discussed reciprocal access and training, and areas of emerging cooperation, including cybersecurity and space.
Secretary Austin's ninth trip to the Indo-Pacific region concludes at a time when the Department of Defense continues to do more than ever alongside allies and partners to deliver on a shared regional vision of peace, stability, and prosperity. Each of the Secretary's stops — in India, the Republic of Korea, and Indonesia — underscored the longstanding U.S. commitment to strengthening the Indo-Pacific's dynamic security architecture.