Major General Tô Ân Xô. - VNA Photo Doãn Tấn
Major General Tô Ân Xô, deputy head of the standing board of the Sub-committee for Security and Health under Việt Nam’s National ASEAN 2020 Committee, talks to Vietnam News Agency about preparations for the 37th ASEAN Summit.
Can you clarify the contributions of ensuring security and health safety in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic when holding these important international events?
Even before Việt Nam officially became chair of ASEAN this year, in April of 2019, the Ministry of Public Security issued a general plan comprising 11 groups of priority action goals and detailing the duties of each level of public security forces.
In August 2019, the Sub-committee for Security and Health under the Việt Nam’s National ASEAN 2020 Committee, outlined specific plans and measures to ensure security, order and health safety for each type of event.
The public security ministry has closely followed all situations of interest, actively co-ordinated with other ministries to propose initiatives and implement the priorities for Việt Nam’s chairmanship year, cooperated with other countries’ authorities to effectively monitor and prevent many international terrorists or suspected terrorists and foil sabotage attempts of many reactionary hostile forces in exile during the time the events were to be held.
The public security ministry has also cracked down on inter-provincial criminal activities in localities where events take place, prevent illegal entries into Việt Nam, increase State management on fire and traffic safety, and mobilise tens of thousands of officers to secure venues.
With the drastic and synchronous implementation of the measures set out in the work of ensuring security and order, the objectives of Việt Nam’s ASEAN Chairmanship 2020 have been obtained so far.
We have ensured the absolute security and safety of about 200 senior officials meetings, about 40 ministerial level meetings, the 36th ASEAN Summit, the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) – many of which were held virtually for the first time ever – earning recognition and appreciation from international partners and friends, contributing to the elevation of Việt Nam’s profile in the international community.
What about the upcoming 37th ASEAN Summit?
The summit, slated for November 12-15, held mostly online in Hà Nội is the most important series of meetings in Việt Nam’s Chairmanship Year 2020.
A total of 36 meetings and 11 summits between ASEAN members as well as between ASEAN and its partners are expected to be held.
This is the occasion for ASEAN leaders to reach an agreement on directing the accomplishments for the year 2020, and offer orientations in ASEAN’s cooperation with its partners in 2021.
Given the significance and importance of the 37th ASEAN Summit, Sub-committee for Security and Health’s efforts have been underway since the beginning of 2020 and the efforts were heightened even more since October this year and will be kept up throughout November.
As a standing member of the subcommittee, the Ministry of Public Security has directed cybersecurity and technical and professional units – especially the Hà Nội Police – to thoroughly and strictly abide by the Prime Minister's instructions and the Việt Nam’s National ASEAN 2020 Committee, proactively formulate and implement plans to arrange and assign specific forces to ensure security and health for about 36 events and summits within the framework of the Summit, with the highest focus on the opening and closing ceremonies, the plenary sessions, ministerial meetings at the International Conference Centre in Ba Đình District, Hà Nội.
In particular, the Ministry of Public Security has issued a detailed protocol to handle security and order-related situations that may arise, while at the same time, directly instructing the deployment of forces and technical equipment to be ready to deal with very specific situations – the primary focus is on responding to information incidents and cyberattacks during the virtual conferences of the 37th ASEAN Summit.
A rehearsal regarding cybersecurity response will be held with the attendance of Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.
In addition, the Ministry of Public Security instructs officers to increase early surveillance and detection, combating and thwarting from afar all conspiracies and hostile schemes from dissidents and criminals; take initiative in the plan to review and disperse complainants in the venues where the 37th ASEAN Summit are to be held; ensure traffic order and safety on routes where delegates would come to the summit’s venues; strengthen network security measures and the quality of internet connections during the summit.
By now, it can be said that all aspects of ensuring security, order and health for the 37th Summit have been deployed actively and urgently, contributing to the success of the Summit.
The swift and smooth adjustments to our security plans when most meetings have been moved online has showcased Việt Nam’s dynamic, responsible and adaptive role in the chairmanship of the regional bloc – especially our capacity in dealing with cyber threats – which will serve as a solid foundation for the promotion of virtual format in ASEAN meetings in the future.
What should the people of Hà Nội be mindful of during the Summit?
To help ensure security and safety for the Summit, the Ministry of Public Security ask that the citizens follow the instructions by the law enforcement personnel – especially in terms of traffic direction at and surrounding the venue of the Summit.
At the same time, the Ministry of Public Security hopes all citizens would participate in national efforts to maintain order, and upkeep the green, clean, beautiful environment, and be supportive of the authorities in the tasks of ensuring security and order of the Summit. — VNS