Delegates at the 14th ASEAN Security Policy Conference (Source: VNA)
Manila (VNA) – Defence officials from member countries of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) discussed outstanding regional security issues at the first debate of the ASEAN Security Policy Conference (ASPC) that opened in Manila, the Philippines, on June 29. 

The Vietnamese delegation to the event is led by Sen. Lieut. Gen. Pham Ngoc Minh, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army.

Presenting Vietnam’s views, Minh said the overall regional situation remains peaceful and stable, but there have been rapid, complex developments along with potential threats. He cited as example the situation in Northeast Asia, natural disaster, piracy, terrorism and disputes in the East Sea. 

The Vietnamese head delegate said the East Sea issue is a complicated matter that caused grave concern for ASEAN and the international community.

He reiterated Vietnam’s stance that the East Sea disputes should be addressed by peaceful measures on the basis of international law and respect for diplomatic and legal processes, along with the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and efforts to soon reach a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Regarding piracy in the region, Vietnam calls on regional countries to uphold their sense of responsibility and join efforts to fight piracy via coordination mechanisms, the sharing of information and experience, and joint patrols, Minh said. 

Vietnam also shares the concern of countries amidst the dangerous spread of terrorism and stands ready to closely cooperate with them to effectively handle this security challenge, he noted. 

Minh noted that ASEAN cooperation through such mechanisms as ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM), ADMM , ARF and East-Asia Summit (EAS) continues to prove its role in promoting defence-security cooperation in the region, control conflicts and build trust, especially since the official launch of the ASEAN Community.

The officer called on the regional countries to step up pragmatic bilateral defence collaboration, considering this a foundation for more efficient multilateral defence and security cooperation. 

Apart from terrorism and the East Sea issue, delegates at the event also exchanged views on other emerging problems like tensions on the Korean Peninsula. 

To effectively deal with these cross-border security challenges, they underlined the need for regional countries to further enhance their pragmatic cooperation by actively participating in ASEAN-led mechanisms like ADMM , ARF and EAS. 

The ASPC is a high-level forum for defence cooperation in the framework of the ARF, whose membership comprises one organisation, ten ASEAN countries, ASEAN’s ten dialogue partners (Australia, Canada, China, India, the EU, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the US) along with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Timor Leste, and one observer (Papua New Guinea).-VNA