ADMM+: ASEAN, partner countries to further solidify defence cooperation hinh anh 1Minister of National Defence, Gen. Ngo Xuan Lich speaks at the 7th ADMM+ (Photo: VNA) 

Hanoi, (VNA) - The 7th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM +) was held via videoconference on December 10 under the chair of Vietnam’s Minister of National Defence, Gen. Ngo Xuan Lich.

The meeting was attended by the defence ministers of ASEAN member states and eight partner countries (Russia, China, the US, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and India), along with ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi. Ambassadors and defence attachés of participating countries in Hanoi were also present.

In his opening remarks, Lich said that while some multilateral mechanisms in the world have encountered difficulties and challenges, defence cooperation within ASEAN and between the bloc and partners remains a bright spot.

He highlighted the military's active role in the fight against COVID-19 in each country as well as in regional cooperation, noting that in a “cohesive and responsive” spirit and by optimising modern digital platforms, the countries have maintained regular exchanges and cooperation.

2020 has been full of challenges, he said, pointing out that COVID-19 has resulted in numerous political, economic, diplomatic, trade, and investment impacts, posing substantial challenges to ASEAN and its partners.

However, he added, despite restrictions on cross-border movements, many initiatives have still been conducted to promote cooperation within ASEAN as well as between the bloc and its partners.

Participants appreciated Vietnam’s proactive and timely response to the new context and active realisation of priorities and initiatives set for 2020, when it served as Chair of ASEAN.

Vietnam has successfully organised ASEAN defence-military meetings while proposing and implementing anti-pandemic initiatives and carrying out cooperation activities within the ADMM Plus framework in a timely manner, they said.

Officials stressed that despite COVID-19, the ADMM Plus countries have continued to bolster cooperation via modern digital platforms and reinforcing ASEAN’s cohesion and proactiveness during the bloc’s adaptation to geostrategic and geopolitical shifts by strengthening defence cooperation among ASEAN members and between them and the Plus countries.

Discussing the global and regional situation, they shared the view that the region is now facing a number of challenges, both traditional and non-traditional, such as those relating to maritime security, cyber security, terrorism, trans-national crime, climate change, and epidemics, which jeopardise regional peace and stability.

They voiced support for the maintenance of peace, stability, security, safety, and freedom of navigation in the East Sea, along with the peaceful settlement of disputes and differences on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The countries agreed to continue bolstering defence cooperation within the regional architecture, with ASEAN at the centre, so as to build trust and boost capacity in better responding to common security threats in the region, thus helping with regional peace, stability, and development, the achievement of  ASEAN Community building targets, and enhancement of the bloc’s centrality in the region and the world.

Lich echoed other officials’ assessment of the current security context and their concern about both traditional and non-traditional security challenges, agreeing that no single country can effectively respond to such challenges by itself, and that bilateral and multilateral cooperation is needed.

In terms of multilateral cooperation, the ADMM Plus continued to prove itself an effective and suitable mechanism for parties to foster substantive ties on the basis of what has been obtained over the last decade, he said.

The meeting adopted a joint statement on the strategic security vision that reflects member states’ consensus and resolve to tighten defence connections to further contribute to regional and global peace, stability, and development.

At the end of the meeting, Vietnam handed over the Chairmanship of the ADMM and ADMM Plus to Brunei, which is also Chair of ASEAN in 2021./.