ASEAN chiefs of defence forces convene informal meeting hinh anh 1At the meeting (Source: VNA)
Singapore (VNA) – The 15th ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces Informal Meeting (ACDFIM-15), themed “Strengthening Collaboration, Building Resilience”, took place in Singapore on March 8.

The Vietnamese delegation to the event was led by Chief of Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army and Deputy Defence Minister Sen. Liet. Gen Phan Van Giang.

At the meeting, host Singapore reiterated commitment to promoting cooperation, building mutual trust in bilateral and multilateral ties in the framework of ASEAN cooperation.

Singapore also expressed deep concern about terrorism which has been threatening the peaceful and stable environment and security in the region. It proposed that ASEAN armies strengthen cooperation, share experience, hold bilateral and multilateral exercises on fighting terrorism.

Participants reached consensus on the need to increase cooperation in the fight against terrorism, cyber security, marine security, response to natural disaster, humanitarian relief, information sharing and joint exercise and patrol.

In his speech, Giang said for ASEAN to become a close-knitted community and the central force guiding regional security mechanism, the bloc must first of all find effective and result-oriented forms of cooperation and build its own resilience. He noted that ASEAN armies are the core force in the ASEAN political-security pillar.

Vietnam proposes that ASEAN members should reach common awareness on the joint responsibility for ASEAN’s common security issues, that the bloc’s security is each member’s security and vice versa.

Each member should conduct studies, appraisal and forecast, share mutual information in order to select priority fields of cooperation, the Vietnamese representative said.

He shared several specific cooperative measures, including extending joint patrols in the fight against terrorism, boosting cooperation in the framework of the working group of the ASEAN Defence Ministerial Meeting Plus on Cyber Security in which ASEAN must play a core role.

On maritime security, parties concerned need to settle disputes and differences by peaceful means at both bilateral and multilateral level in accordance with international law, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and regional commitments towards formulating an effective and legally-binding Code of Conduct in the East Sea, he said.

In order to maintain safe and stable regional waters, he called on countries to active implement the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) and devise a document similar to that applied for military aircraft as proposed by Singapore.

The Vietnam People’s Army has sent forces to join common activities within the ASEAN cooperation framework, he said, adding that Vietnam commits to further making contributions to national defence-military collaboration within the ASEAN Defence Ministerial Meeting (ADMM), the ADMM Plus and the ASEAN Regional Forum frameworks.

Concluding the meeting, countries issued a Joint Statement underscoring the importance of maintaining security, stability, over-flight and navigation safety and freedom in the East Sea, the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, exercise self-restraint and avoid actions that may further complicate the situation, and pursue peaceful resolution of disputes in line with international law, including the UNCLOS.

The statement declared to continue strengthening defence cooperation among ASEAN member states based on the principles of the ASEAN Charter, voluntary and non-binding contributions with assets remaining under national command and control and at a pace comfortable to all, in order to build trust, confidence and capacity in addressing regional security challenges in an effective and timely manner.

It noted the “Resilience, Response, Recovery” framework, to build up the region’s ability to deter and prevent terrorist attacks, coordinate ASEAN’s responses to address ongoing threats, and recover from any terrorist attacks.

On the sidelines of the ACDFIM-15, Giang met bilaterally with chiefs of defence forces of Singapore, the Philippines, Brunei, during which the sides shared experience in reinforcing bilateral defence ties with focus on the exchange of visits, education-training, and military build-up.-VNA