Senior Lieutenant General Nguyễn Chí Vịnh, deputy minister of National Defence, speaks at the meeting. VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — As Chair of ASEAN, Việt Nam attaches great importance and gives top priority to defence-security co-operation channels in the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Senior Lieutenant General Nguyễn Chí Vịnh, deputy minister of National Defence, said at the ARF Defence Officials’ Dialogue Video Conference in Hà Nội on Wednesday.
The dialogue aimed to promote defence co-operation within ARF in response to COVID-19 and make preparations for the 17th ARF Security Policy Conference (ASPC) to take place on July 8.
Delegates discussed co-operation in military medicine, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and coping with communicable diseases, as well as Việt Nam’s initiatives to promote defence-security co-operation in the ARF and increase connectivity between the ARF and the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus.
Senior Lieutenant General Vịnh praised the US Department of Defense which co-hosted the ARF Defence Officials’ Dialogue for its collaboration with Vietnamese defence agencies to hold the dialogue.
This year, the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence selected the theme 'Defence Co-operation for cohesive and responsive ASEAN'.
The deputy minister expressed his concern over difficulties ARF countries are encountering due to COVID-19 but said he believed they will soon overcome all difficulties to build a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Asia-Pacific.
Chairing ASEAN in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic is a completely new experience to Việt Nam. ASEAN and its partners have responded to the new normal and held various teleconference meetings, he said.
ASEAN organised a virtual exercise to prevent COVID-19 and shared experience in the task as well as promoted defence co-operation in dealing with non-traditional security challenges, helping put commitments made at ASEAN summits and in joint statements into actions, he said.
Vịnh said that ARF is a special mechanism chaired by diplomatic channels, in which defence co-operation plays an important role in the practical implementation of measures in building trust and preventive diplomacy.
In 2020, Việt Nam will make efforts to strengthen this very important co-operation channel, he said.
He called for stronger defence links between ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus and ARF. — VNS