US - ASEAN Defense Forum in Hawaii

Defence Minister Gen. Phung Quang Thanh on April 2 joined his US and ASEAN counterparts for a discussion on post-disaster recovery and humanitarian assistance, as part of the ongoing US–ASEAN defence forum in Honolulu, Hawaii. 
In his speech, US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel hinted that both sides can also work together in humanitarian operations, citing the effective bilateral coordination in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines last year and the recent search for the lost Malaysia Airlines plane. 
The gathering of defence ministers marked the first time the US has hosted such an ASEAN meeting. Hagel said it is the latest example of the growing bilateral defence cooperation and the US’s commitment to pivot towards Asia. 
He later led his counterparts on a tour of new amphibious ship USS Anchorage, where he told the media that the rebalance is well under way and will not be derailed, despite budget restraints. 
The official expressed hope that the forum will become an annual event. 
Ministers later visited several defence facilities and the headquarters of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Honolulu.-VNA