|Canadian Minister of National Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan — VNS Photo Trương Vị|
Canadian Minister of National Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan talks with Việt Nam News on the prospects of Canada-Việt Nam defence co-operation and Canada’s commitment to sustain peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region during his visit to Việt Nam.
Việt Nam and Canada set up a new vision on bilateral relations during the visit of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Việt Nam last November, including defence ties. What is the significance of the defence relations between Việt Nam and Canada?
This is the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries and we are very proud of that. Our Prime Minister was very happy to visit here and also happy at the comprehensive agreement to move our relationship forward after 45 years. It just shows that the relationship has been built over time.
And now coming to defence, we want to move that relationship forward as well. We want to enhance agreement in military training co-operation. We are able to look at opportunities in which we can enhance military training co-operation: from language training to medical and engineer training.
During this visit, the two ministries of defence have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. How can this foster bilateral relations in the defence sector?
This is another step forward. The military training programme we have in Canada allows us to locate the needs of the military. We have identified three needs that we will move forward with, not only in the agreement but on which we will take action.
Language training is one of them. Regarding medical training, we have really good experience in field hospitals and especially during the deployment of peacekeeping operations. It is also very important in dealing with mines and unexploded ordnances because when we go out of our peacekeeping comfort zones, we have to make sure our soldiers are safe and at the same time, the civilians are kept safe.
Those are a start, but we are also exploring other opportunities. This is another step in deepening our relationship.
Canada is seeking to strengthen its presence in the Asia Pacific by not only promoting economic ties but also building partnerships in security and defence. What role does Việt Nam play in Canada’s Asia Pacific strategy?
First of all, Canada’s role in the Asia Pacific is very important. We are a Pacific nation ourselves. We have a significant focus in our defence policy: we will maintain a consistent military engagement in Asia Pacific to help foster peace and security.
Việt Nam plays a very important role in peace and security in the region, especially when it comes to looking at not only the maritime perspective but other security challenges that we face together. We worked together on a number of occasions, we talked on many security issues at the Shangri-La Dialogue, and having Viet Nam’s perspective is extremely important.
How can Canada help Việt Nam in the maritime sector? What is Canada’s view of the current dispute in the South China Sea?
In terms of maritime co-operation, it is about how we can build the capability for Việt Nam. It is not just about operating a vessel but what system you need for management.
Regarding the security issue in the South China Sea, we all have to send a message that any disputes need to be dealth with by international resolutions. We have tribunals that are in place and all nations need to respect international law and freedom of navigation.
That is Canada’s position in terms of security in the region. We will have a consistent presence in the Asia Pacific to promote peace and security so we can be relied upon to deal with threats. — VNS
Việt Nam, Canada to intensify defence cooperation
Vietnamese Minister of National Defence Ngô Xuân Lịch held talks with his Canadian counterpart Harjit Singh Sajjan yesterday.
At the talks, the two sides reviewed bilateral defence cooperation over the past years, and discussed orientations and measures to bolster defence ties in the time ahead.
They focused on some potential cooperation fields like training, participation in United Nations peacekeeping activities, marine security, the defence industry, and military medicine.
The Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence welcomes Canada’s continued support for the Southeast Asian nation in training and engaging in UN peacekeeping activities, Lịch said.
At the end of the talks, the two ministers witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the Military Training and Cooperation Programme of Canada.
This memorandum is expected to help Vietnamese officers to have more chances to take part in diverse training courses in Canada.
It is considered an important development in bilateral defence relations, creating favourable conditions for both sides to promote other potential cooperation areas.
Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan is paying an official visit to Việt Nam from June 4 to 6.
The trip is significant to the friendship between the governments, armies and people of the two countries, as well as for the growth of their defence ties in line with the newly established Việt Nam-Canada comprehensive partnership.
It is also a practical contribution to the 45th founding anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations (August 21, 1973). — VNS