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Hagel to host Southeast Asian defense ministers at Hawaii forum

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  • AP
    FILE - This Aug. 26

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will host all 10 of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nation defense ministers in Hawaii for an inaugural U.S.-ASEAN Defense Forum in April.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the forum will take place April 1-3. The site of the meetings were not released.

In a written statement, Hanabusa said: “This is the first time a U.S. Secretary of Defense has ever hosted all ASEAN defense ministers here in the U.S., and for Secretary Hagel to select Hawaii as the location of this historic meeting only reaffirms the vital role our state will play in the rebalance to Asia-Pacific. Since launching the HASC bipartisan oversight series on the Asia-Pacific in October, I have learned more about the types of long-term security challenges our nation faces in the region, and have listened to ambassadors from the all over the region discuss the issues they’re dealing with. This critical meeting with world defense leaders will help strengthen our security partnerships and ensure that the U.S. builds on our own involvement in maturing regional institutions in Asia.”

“Holding the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ meeting in Hawaii showcases our critical role in Asia and the Pacific,” U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said in a press release. “As we continue to see, Hawaii is key to the United States’ strategic pivot to Asia.  This will be the first time a secretary has hosted all of his ASEAN counterparts in the U.S. and it shows the importance of these countries in the region, politically, economically, and on a national security level,” Schatz said.

The Pentagon Wednesday reported that senior U.S. and South Korean officials concluded a nuclear and weapons of mass destruction two-day threats exercise at U.S. Pacific Command.

About 40 defense and foreign affairs government officials and military officers participated in the third iteration of the Extended Deterrence Policy Committee tabletop exercise.

The exercise scenario is designed to allow officials to explore a range of possible alliance responses to a nuclear crisis involving South Korea. 

Highlights of the exercise include briefings on nuclear, conventional, and missile defense capabilities supporting deterrence and extended deterrence; discussions regarding a range of possible alliance response measures centered on nuclear threat scenarios; and site-visits to U.S. military facilities that support deterrence and extended deterrence on the Korean Peninsula, including an air operations center and a missile defense naval vessel.

Deputy Minister for Policy of the Ministry of National Defense Yoo Jeh Seung led the Republic of Korea delegation. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy Elaine Bunn and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia David Helvey co-led the U.S. delegation.

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