SEOUL, Republic of Korea -- In a flourish of tradition, music, and color, the senior land forces commanders and leaders from 28 Indo-Asia Pacific countries participated in the combined opening ceremony to launch three concurrent security conferences, Sep. 18, 2017.
The three-day 10th Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (PACC X), 41st Pacific Armies Management Seminar (PAMS XLI) and Third Senior Enlisted Leaders Forum (SELF III) began with opening ceremonies today.
This year's theme of the three conferences is "Unity of Effort: Building Civil-Military Partnerships in Land Force Response to Non-traditional Security Threats."
Ban Ki-moon, the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations, highlighted the importance of this topic as he delivered the keynote address.
"It is very meaningful and timely that South Korea host this joint conference of PACC and PAMS today." Kimoon remarked. "Though Korea has long been dubbed as the Land of the Morning Calm, things have been anything but calm at home."
According to Ki-moon, this conference will help build partnerships and accumulated experiences to build mutual trust and confidence among nations.
Senior land forces commanders and leaders from 28 countries gathered for the PACC conference, a multinational executive defense forum. The biennial PACC fosters military-to-military cooperation, develops interpersonal relationships, and contributes to regional security and stability. This is the second time that the Republic of Korea has hosted the PACC. This iteration is co-chaired by Gen. Kim Yongwoo, Republic of Korea Army Chief of Staff, and Gen. Mark A. Milley, U.S. Army Chief of Staff.
Kim emphasized in his opening remarks that "non-traditional security threats are our common enemy to be defeated for the survival and prosperity of humanity, making the role of land forces very important since they have a lot of military personnel and assets."
Following his co-host and counterpart, Milley said "the timing couldn't be more uncanny. It is absolutely critical that all of our nations stand-shoulder to shoulder against what arguably is the number one non-traditional threat facing the international community today--and it is very proximate to this capital city. North Korea lies 27 miles north of here and they are clearly and unambiguously threatening their neighbors, flying missiles over Japan, provoking South Korea, (and) clearly and unambiguously threatening the United States. They don't only threaten Japan, the United States and South Korea, they threaten the world, and it is absolutely critical that we all do everything humanly possible to avert an armed conflict to convince North Korea that their path of seeking nuclear weapons is the wrong path."
Concurrently, leaders from 26 nations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region are meeting for PAMS XLI. PAMS is an annual multinational military seminar that provides a forum for senior-level (lieutenant colonel to major general, or national equivalent) officers from the Indo-Asia-Pacific regional ground forces to exchange views and ideas. It is not only a forum to enhance understanding, it also provides an opportunity for the future leaders of the region's armies to establish and cultivate a set of strong interpersonal relationships. This year, PAMS is co-chaired by Lt. Gen. Jeong Yeonbong, Republic of Korea Army Vice Chief of Staff, and Gen. Robert B. Brown, U.S. Army Pacific Commanding General.
Senior enlisted leaders from 18 nations are also meeting for SELF III, which is held biennially in conjunction with the PACC to build enlisted defense relationships with regional partners, promote dialogue on relevant topics, such as the continued professionalization of the non-commissioned officer corps throughout the region, and to share candid lessons learned.
While the threat of North Korea will be a be a major topic of the three conferences, speakers highlighted other non-traditional security threats throughout the region, such as natural disasters and violent extremist organizations.
PACC, PAMS and SELF are structured as multi-tiered conferences joined by a common theme. It is billed as the largest multinational military seminar promoting security, peace, and cooperation in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.