The 15th ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces Informal Meeting (ACDFIM-15), themed “Strengthening Collaboration, Building Resilience”, took place in Singapore on Thursday. — VNA/VNS Photo Mỹ Bình
SINGAPORE — The 15th ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces Informal Meeting (ACDFIM-15), themed “Strengthening Collaboration, Building Resilience”, took place in Singapore on Thursday.
The Vietnamese delegation to the event was led by Chief of Staff of the Việt Nam People’s Army and Deputy Defence Minister Sen. Liet. Gen Phan Văn Giang.
At the meeting, host Singapore reiterated its commitment to promoting cooperation and building mutual trust in bilateral and multilateral ties in the framework of ASEAN co-operation.
Singapore also expressed deep concern about terrorism which has been threatening security in the region. It proposed that ASEAN armies strengthen cooperation, share experience and hold bilateral and multilateral exercises on fighting terrorism.
Participants reached consensus on the need to increase cooperation in the fight against terrorism, cyber security, marine security, response to natural disaster, humanitarian relief, information sharing and joint exercises and patrols.
In his speech, Giang said for ASEAN to become a close-knit community and the central force guiding regional security mechanism, the bloc must first of all find effective and results-oriented forms of cooperation and build its own resilience. He noted that ASEAN armies are the core force in the ASEAN political-security pillar.
Việt Nam proposes that ASEAN members should reach common awareness on their joint responsibility for ASEAN’s common security issues. Each member should conduct studies, appraisals and forecasts and share information in order to select priority fields of cooperation, the Vietnamese representative said.
He shared several specific cooperative measures, including extending joint patrols in the fight against terrorism and boosting co-operation in the framework of the working group of the ASEAN Defence Ministerial Meeting Plus on Cyber Security in which ASEAN must play a core role.
On maritime security, concerned parties need to settle disputes and differences by peaceful means at both bilateral and multilateral levels in accordance with international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and regional commitments towards formulating an effective and legally binding Code of Conduct in the East Sea, he said.
In order to maintain safe and stable regional waters, he called on countries to actively implement the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) and devise a document similar to that applied for military aircraft as proposed by Singapore.
The Việt Nam People’s Army sent forces to join common activities within the ASEAN cooperation framework, he said, adding that Vietnam commits to further making contributions to national defence-military collaboration within the ASEAN Defence Ministerial Meeting (ADMM), the ADMM Plus and the ASEAN Regional Forum frameworks.
Concluding the meeting, countries issued a Joint Statement underscoring the importance of maintaining security, stability, over-flight and navigation safety and freedom in the East Sea, the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in line with international law, including the UNCLOS.
The statement pledged to continue strengthening defence cooperation among ASEAN member states based on the principles of the ASEAN Charter, voluntary and non-binding contributions with assets remaining under national command and control.
It noted the value of the “Resilience, Response, Recovery” framework to build up the region’s ability to deter and prevent terrorist attacks, coordinate ASEAN’s responses to address ongoing threats, and recover from any terrorist attacks.
On the sidelines of the ACDFIM-15, Giang met bilaterally with chiefs of defence forces of Singapore, the Philippines and Brunei, during which the sides shared experiences in reinforcing bilateral defence ties with a focus on the exchange of visits, education-training and military build-up. — VNS