ASEAN, or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is to work closely with Japan on CBRN defence according to Bernama, the Malaysian news agency.

The AJCT dialogue held in Cebu, the Philippines, from 24-26 July, 2012, marked the beginning of the latest phase of collaborative CBRN effort between the two national entities, as part of their wider strategy aimed at combating terrorism in the region.

Other areas of strategic focus include border defence and maritime security, particularly in the South China Sea.

The ASEAN member states are all signatories to the 1995 Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - with the notable exception of North Korea.

The latter exception will no doubt have provided an unlimited source of both concern and discussion at the recent ASEAN Summit, held in Cambodia.

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