The Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) is ready to share its experiences and cooperate with other countries’ armies to effectively cope with non-traditional challenges in the region.

The statement was made by Chief of the VPA’s General Staff Sen. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Khac Nghien, who is also Deputy Defence Minister, in a statement made at the 7th ASEAN Chief of Defence Forces Informal Meeting (ACDFIM-7) that opened in Hanoi on March 25 with the participation of leaders 10 ASEAN armies.

The VPA is actively taking part in regional cooperation with responsibility through bilateral cooperation activities and regional and international forums, Nghien said.

ACDFIM-7, entitled “boosting the effectiveness of cooperation among ASEAN armies in response to non-traditional security threats”, will help enhance solidarity, cooperation and understanding among ASEAN armies within the framework of the ASEAN Charter to successfully build an ASEAN community in 2015, he said.

In his speech, Nghien emphasised that Southeast Asia is facing non-traditional and trans-national security challenges, ranging from terrorist threats, disasters and diseases to the impacts of climate change, marine security, and food and energy security issues.

These threats are no longer one nation’s problem and no one nation can solve them alone--these threats can only be effectively coped with through close cooperation and coordination, he said.

He went on to say that cooperation among ASEAN armies for mutual benefits has an important role in addressing common challenges and ensuring security, stability and safety in the region.

To improve the effectiveness of cooperation among ASEAN armies and meet new development requirements, Sen. Lt. Gen. Nghien laid stress on the necessity of connectivity and coordination in sharing information and conducting common activities.

Apart from dialogues, trust building and experience exchange, ASEAN members should promote cooperation activities in reality such as search and rescue, humanitarian assistance and disaster mitigation, he said.

These activities will help bring new momentum to ASEAN military cooperation and contribute to raising the role and prestige of each ASEAN nation’s armed forces, he added.

ASEAN nations should also continue building and implement the two-year action plan – an important undertaking that will identify cooperation activities for ASEAN armies from now until 2011.

At the meeting, leaders of ASEAN armies put forward initiatives and ideas to boost cooperation in settling common regional challenges with a focus on the prevention and control of disasters and diseases, along with climate change.

Other ASEAN delegations shared Vietnam’s view, saying that cooperation among ASEAN armies has brought about practical effectiveness, making important contributions to maintaining an ASEAN region of peace, stability and development./.