ASEAN, partners meet in Singapore to strengthen defence ties hinh anh 1Vietnamese Deputy Defence Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh and other ASEAN officials at the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Retreat in Singapore last February (Photo: VNA)

Singapore (VNA) – The ASEAN Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting (ADSOM) and ASEAN Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting Plus (ADSOM+) took place in Singapore from July 11 to 13 to enhance defence cooperation in ASEAN as well as between the bloc and partner countries.

The two meetings also aimed to prepare for the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) slated for this October.

At the ADSOM, heads of the delegations discussed reports on the outcomes of defence cooperation among ASEAN nations, the meetings of ASEAN militaries’ research agencies, and the preparations for the ADMM and the ADMM+.

They reaffirmed the importance of solidarity and solidarity in the bloc to effectively respond to common security challenges. Amid the swiftly changing strategic context, they said ASEAN needs to continue promoting ties with major partners so as to maintain peace and stability in the region.

The meeting also scrutinised the grouping’s defence cooperation initiatives such as the ASEAN Peacekeeping Centres Network and a network of ASEAN chemical, biological and radiological defence experts.

Deputy Defence Minister, Sen. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh, who led the Vietnamese delegation to the meetings, said together with Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia, Vietnam has been chosen by the United Nations to become a training site for peacekeeping forces of the region. Therefore, the country is ready to play a more active role to help improve ASEAN’s peacekeeping capacity. It also wants to boost connections with other countries in joint exercises, sharing experience in military medicine, search and rescue activities.

Regarding the initiative on a network of ASEAN chemical, biological and radiological defence experts, he suggested the content of war consequences settlement be added to this network’s activities. This proposal was welcomed by participating countries.

For more than five decades, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have suffered from consequences of chemical weapons left from the war. Vietnam is currently one of the leading countries in handling war consequences, and it is ready to share experience and dioxin detoxification technologies with other ASEAN countries, Vinh said.

The officer also called on the bloc to cooperate more strongly with partners in dealing with UXO left from the war.

The ADSOM+ saw the presence of officials of the ASEAN and partner nations, including India, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, China, the US, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN Hoang Anh Tuan provided updates on the bloc’s defence cooperation progress, renewing ASEAN’s viewpoint that all disputes must be resolved peacefully in line with international law, and navigation and aviation freedom in the region must be ensured and respected.

The partner countries highly valued ASEAN’s role and voiced their support for the bloc’s central role in cooperation mechanisms for promoting regional peace and stability, especially the ADMM+.

To prepare for the fifth ADMM in Singapore in October, officials gave opinions on a draft ministerial joint statement on the fight against terrorism and measures to build substantive trust.

Within the framework of the ADSOM and the ADSOM+, Deputy Minister Vinh also had bilateral meetings with heads of the delegations of Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan and the US.-VNA