A virtual workshop on “Regional Multilateralism in Uncertain Times: Past, Present, and Future” was organised by the Regional Security Architecture Programme of RSIS on 10 and 11 December 2020. Prof Ralf Emmers, Dean of RSIS, delivered the opening remarks to more than 40 participants comprising mainly academics and members from think-tank communities in Singapore and beyond.
In the first session titled “Navigating the Complex Regional Security Architecture”, participants debated if the region may be defined less by overlapping networks of institutions and more by geo-political spheres of influence led respectively by the US and China going forward.
In the second session titled “Assessing the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and ADMM-Plus”, the successes of the ADMM and ADMM-Plus as platforms for defence diplomacy and mechanisms in strengthening cooperation, confidence and capacity building among ASEAN and “Plus Countries”, were recognised.
In the final discussion on “Exploring the Next Phase of Security and Defence Diplomacy”, anticipated changes in the conduct of regional defence diplomacy in the post-COVID-19 world were brought up.
The ensuing discussions were focused on the evolution of regional defence and security cooperation in recent decades, the continued relevance of ASEAN centrality in the regional security architecture, the 10th anniversary of the ADMM-Plus in 2020, and the role of the “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific” in shaping regional defence cooperation.