|ASEAN members have agreed that all efforts must be expended in fostering a unified front, with a unified vision, voice and actions. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam aims to foster ASEAN’s unity in its chairmanship year 2020 to prevent the regional bloc from “having to choose sides,” in the context of growing strategic competition between global powers.
Major General Vũ Tiến Trọng, head of the Institute of International Defence Relations under the Ministry of Defence was speaking at a press briefing held at the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Retreat in Hà Nội on Wednesday.
While Trọng did not specify the countries involved, rivalry and power struggles between China and the US put these countries at the forefront of specualtion.
Việt Nam’s theme for this year’s chairmanship – Cohesive and Responsive – demonstrates the country’s commitments to work within ASEAN to retain the bloc’s “self-reliance, autonomy, and independence” so as not to be “swayed by the complicated developments” in the world and in the region,” Trọng said.
ASEAN members have agreed that all efforts must be expended in fostering a unified front, with a unified vision, voice and actions, he said.
Regarding military involvement, Việt Nam is pushing for deeper collaboration to identify traditional and non-traditional threats of mutual concern, from which orientations can be devised based on the principle of consensus and then agencies from member countries can work together to realise those orientations, Trọng said.
He added that each country must be aware of their responsibilities and interests to effectively cooperate with each other, therefore Việt Nam is working to strengthen the unity of ASEAN.
He cited the swift adoption of the joint statement of ASEAN Defence Ministers’ regarding military cooperation in combating the respiratory disease outbreak COVID-19 – a “transboundary issue that no single country can cope with on its own” – as one of the clear examples showing how ASEAN can join hands to deal with emerging non-traditional threats, including diseases, cybersecurity or anti-terrorism.
The statement meets the expectations of ASEAN, who wish for effective and quick efforts in containing the disease to restore a sense of normalcy to their life and countries’ economy. — VNS