The officials issued a joint declaration Thursday reaffirming their commitment to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and to working together for a better future, the U.S. Defense Department said on its website.
The ministers' two-day meeting was at a resort near Bandar Seri Begawan, capital of the Southeast Asian nation of Brunei.
The event, named the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus), was attended by representatives from the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and eight more from the United States, Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Russia.
Hagel attended the meeting as part of his Asian trip, which includes visits to Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
It was the second ADMM-Plus meeting. The first was in Vietnam.
"I see this second ministerial of the ADMM-Plus as a landmark event," Hagel told the ministers. "In 2010, when then-Secretary [Robert M.] Gates joined you, our countries committed to making the ADMM-Plus action-oriented."
At the first meeting, the defense ministers agreed to pursue practical cooperation in maritime security, counter-terrorism, disaster management, peacekeeping operations and military medicine.
Under ASEAN leadership, there have been three multinational field exercises this year, a major accomplishment, Hagel said.
"I am proud that the United States has been a partner and participant all along the way," he said.
While in Brunei, Hagel had a telephone conversation with German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere about the violence in Syria. Pentagon press secretary George Little said Hagel pledged to continue consultations with de Maiziere on the subject of chemical weapons in Syria.
On the sidelines of the ADMM-Plus meeting, Hagel had bilateral talks with counterparts from Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Brunei, and Myanmar.
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