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Hagel to host 1st ASEAN meeting of its kind in US

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will host the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations defense ministers in Honolulu April 1-3.

It will be the first ASEAN meeting of its kind to take place in the United States, the Pentagon said.

"The forum will provide an opportunity for defense leaders to discuss a shared vision for a dynamic, peaceful, and secure future for the region," the Defense Department said in a release Thursday.

Hagel and the ministers will address issues including humanitarian disaster relief and the "regional security architecture," according to the Pentagon.

They will also receive operational briefings and demonstrations of U.S. capabilities from U.S. Pacific Command headquartered at Camp Smith.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said in January that the meeting will be the first time a U.S. secretary of defense has ever hosted all ASEAN defense ministers in the United States.

"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," Hanabusa said at the time.

In October, Hanabusa, a Democrat, launched a bipartisan oversight effort, the Asia-Pacific Oversight Series, with Rep. Randy Forbes, a Virginia Republican and chairman of the Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces.

Hanabusa said the ASEAN 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."

ASEAN's 10 member states include Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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