MANILA, May 14 (Xinhua) -- The military chiefs from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) started arriving in Manila Sunday to attend conferences to strengthen cooperation among ASEAN militaries in addressing common security challenges facing the region.
Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the public affairs office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said in a statement that the military chiefs from the 10 ASEAN nations will attend the ASEAN Chief of Defense Forces Informal Meeting (ACDFIM) and related meetings that will run from May 15 to May 19.
He said regional issues such as maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, counter-terrorism, infectious disease management and peacekeeping will stay high in the agenda of the meeting.
He said Gen. Eduardo Ano, the AFP chief of staff, will chair the five-day meetings.
The ACDFIM is an informal networking and confidence building platform among ASEAN chiefs of defense forces. It has since developed into an important avenue for ASEAN militaries to build capacity and strengthen practical cooperation.
Before the ACDFIM, he said, ASEAN senior operations and intelligence officers will convene for this year's ASEAN Military Operations Informal Meeting (AMOIM) and ASEAN Military Intelligence Informal Meeting (AMIIM).
He said the meetings "encourage common perspectives and understanding for promoting and fostering strong relationships and security cooperation in the region."
The Philippines is the chairman of ASEAN this year. The bloc groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.