The 12th Shangri-La Dialogue took place from May 31 to June 2 in Singapore and involved defence ministers, military chiefs and other senior government representatives from some 27 countries.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung was invited by the organisation board to deliver the keynote address at the Dialogue. In his opening keynote address, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung called for a “strategic trust” among Asia-Pacific members and announced that Vietnam would be joining international peacekeeping operations for the first time.

On this occasion, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung gave an exclusive interview to The Jakarta Post’s Veeramalla Anjaiah on the issue.

Vietnam News Agency would like to introduce an excerpt of the interview published by the The Jakarta Post on June 4 with the title “Vietnam, RI must collaborate to address regional security challenges: PM Dung”:

Question: How do you see the rapidly changing security environment in the Asia-Pacific region and what should be done to deal with the present security challenges?

Answer: The Asia-Pacific region has been experiencing dynamic and strong growth over the past few years, creating a vigorous momentum for world development. It is certain that peace, cooperation and integration are the mainstreams in the region; that fact constitutes a positive opportunity and premise for the whole region in the future.

However, there are unequal developments in globalization and regionalization, unbalanced cooperation as well as diversity in each country’s strategic calculation; plus we are facing so many major challenges from sovereignty disputes, maritime security, arm race threats, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, ethnic separation, cyber security, transnational crimes to climate change, natural disasters and epidemics.
These challenges go beyond any one country or group of countries’ capability to handle them alone and, in some cases, if they are not properly managed, they can pose a severe threat to regional peace, stability and development.

To deal with these challenges, every country in the region must build strategic confidence through concrete actions and sincerity. Only with confidence can we build equal cooperation and strong relationships, respecting one another’s legitimate benefits, and international principles of conduct and standards.

Primarily, we must endeavor to prevent the trend by some countries to prioritize their own national interests and consider the use of force, which results in unilateral moves and risks international relations. Each country must be a “responsible stakeholder” to ensure regional peace and security and to positively contribute to multilateral efforts, further consolidating and promoting the role of regional security cooperation mechanisms.

How can close strategic partners Vietnam and Indonesia contribute to ASEAN’s unity and regional peace and security?

Vietnam and Indonesia are both responsible ASEAN members with a long-standing friendly and cooperative relationship that share similarities in culture, history, economics and points of view in dealing with international and regional matters.

Vietnam greatly appreciates Indonesia’s sense of responsibility and effort in proposing its initiatives and in joining hands to resolve a number of emerging complex issues in the region, contributing to improve prestige as well as unity among ASEAN countries.

Vietnam hopes that the two countries will make an even greater effort to strengthen its comprehensive cooperation and strive toward a strategic partnership to reach further consensus in various matters in order to contribute to the resolution of emerging security challenges that threaten regional security, peace and stability; particularly regarding the need to ensure safety and freedom of navigation in the region. Both countries should strengthen coordination in promoting consensus within ASEAN to build and consolidate its confidence for a prosperous ASEAN Community in 2015.

What do you expect from the Shangri-La Dialogue?

I have a strong belief in the success of this dialogue. The current regional geopolitics and security situation requires all nations to actively build strategic confidence, effectively manage conflicts and collaborate responsibly on the basis of mutual respect and benefits, as well as respect for international law.

Vietnam hopes that through Shangri-La Dialogue, defence and security officials from across the world will develop a shared viewpoint and responsible consensus on the key issues affecting this region and the world. This dialogue is also an opportunity for Vietnam to reaffirm its role and responsibility in regional and global issues and in so doing, boost friendship and cooperation with all nations.-VNA