Senior Lieutenant Colonel Phạm Quang Hiếu, Deputy Head of Naval Staff of Region 2 Command, talks to Quân đội nhân dân (People’s Army) newspaper about the Việt Nam People’s Navy’s participation in the first ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise (AUMX), which is taking place from September 2-6.
What is the purpose of Việt Nam’s participation in the first ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise (AUMX) this year?
Việt Nam’s participation in the AUMX, firstly, is in line with the instructions from the Central Military Commission and the Minister of National Defence, the policies of the Party and the State on active and proactive international integration through exercises, contributing to maintaining peace, stability and enhancing security and safety in the East Sea.
Secondly, Việt Nam’s presence at this naval drill shows our support to the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-US Strategic Partnership 2016-20, which was signed in Malaysia by leaders of ASEAN member countries and the US in November 2015.
Thirdly, the participation in AUMX expresses our support for ASEAN countries and the US in organising international events and activities.
Lastly, during our trip to the venue, the Vietnamese naval force will conduct patrol and reconnaissance activities in southern waters as well as check military equipment. Besides, our staff will gain more experience in training at sea, enhance command ability and sea combat readiness of crew members.
Taking part in the exercise will also provide Vietnamese naval officers and sailors with an opportunity to exchange, learn from experience and improve their ability to co-ordinate in operations with other countries.
What activities of AUMX will Việt Nam take part in?
The AUMX was initiated by the US Secretary of Defence at the ASEAN-US Defence Ministers’ unofficial meeting in October 2017 in the Philippines and got approval at the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting in October last year in Singapore. The exercise each year is unique.
The AUMX’s theme is Enhancing Shared Awareness and Interoperability in the Maritime Domain. The drills include three activities of photographic exercise (PHOTOEX) (in which photos of teams’ formations will be taken from an aerial position), maritime actions and tactics of Visit-Board-Search-and Seizure (VBSS) and a night cruise area.
In PHOTOEX, there is a combination of coding and decoding of electronic versions, light communication, movements of the team (from vertical formation to diamond formation) to carry out the content of the photos. This section is under the command of Philippine navy ships.
In VBSS, Ship 18 of Việt Nam will be on sentry duty for naval ships of the Philippines, Brunei and the US.
In the section of the night cruise, our Ship 18 will manoeuvre in the area according to the formation.
What are your thoughts about this drill as the head of the Vietnamese delegation?
This is the first time Ship 18 has participated in naval foreign affairs. It is both an honour and a responsibility for officers, staff and sailors of the ship. Through this activity, we have an opportunity to practice our skills, command ability, co-ordination, synergies with the navies of other countries. That will be a valuable experience for us to apply and serve later in the unit. — VNS