Ng made the call at the opening ceremony of the 12th International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (IMDEX) Asia in Singapore on May 14.
While underlining the importance of marine trade to the Asian-Pacific region, he said despite global uncertainties, including trade disputes and security tensions, trade volumes through the seas have been increasing and are expected to increase further.
As traditional maritime threats such as transnational maritime terrorism, piracy, and trafficking of drugs, weapons and humans persist, more cooperation between governments and armed forces are needed, Ng said.
Regarding disputes in the East Sea, the minister said a Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea can pave the way for agreement on international maritime norms and conflict prevention.
Along with multilateral forums such as the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM+), IMDEX Asia 2019 is an opportunity to create trust and strengthen cooperation between Asian-Pacific nations in the field of navigation, he said.
The three-day event is taking place at the Changi Exhibition Centre with the participation of naval commanders, commanders of marine police, and defence officers from more than 40 countries as well as the world’s leading defence industry groups.