The Association of Southeast Asian Nations and 8 countries in the Pacific basin will set up regular talks for their defense ministers.
Vietnam's deputy defense minister Nguyen Chi Vinh said in Hanoi on Thursday that the first meeting will be held in his country's capital on October 12th, with natural disaster rescue and anti-pirate measures high on the agenda. Vietnam chairs ASEAN meetings this year.
He said the ASEAN defense ministers' talks will be enlarged to include the United States, Russia, China, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan.
The expanded talks will be held every 3 years, with high-ranking working-level discussions to take place every year.
Nguyen Chi Vinh said the 8 countries hope to use their experiences to maintain peace in the Southeast Asian region.
Observers say ASEAN's goal is apparently to check China's ambitions in the region by involving the 8 major countries in the ASEAN defense ministers' talks.
Some members of ASEAN have territorial disputes with China over islands in the South China Sea.