Defence officials from 27 members of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) shared their concerns and stressed the importance of regional security, particularly maritime security, at a regional security policy conference in Phnom Penh on May 25.

Within the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ARF Security Policy Conference (ASPC) said that disputes at sea and in the East Sea in particular need to be solved peacefully on the basis of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and regional treaties.
Countries supported ASEAN and China to effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and work towards the Code of Conduct (COC) for peace, stability and security in the region, as well as to ensure maritime freedom, natural resource exploitation and economic development in accordance with international law.

Delegations to the conference expressed concern over recent developments in the East Sea , and said they want concerned parties to refrain and listen to the international community’s opinions, to peacefully solve disputes based on international law.

Regarding nuclear energy safety, the conference said that this is an important issue for the region and necessary to encourage nations to participate in international nuclear treaties and mechanisms, complete their domestic legal frameworks, build training and assistance centres relating to nuclear security as well as increase international cooperation on the issue.

Addressing the event, Deputy Defence Minister Sen. Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh, who led the Vietnamese delegation to the conference, affirmed Vietnam ’s consistent viewpoint against global proliferation of nuclear weapons. Vietnam also actively participates in mechanisms to build a nuclear weapon free South East Asia and Asia-Pacific region in a sustainable manner.

He stressed the importance of nuclear energy use for peaceful purposes, saying that priority should be given to safety.

Vietnam is studying a roadmap for the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in its industrialisation and modernisation, Vinh added.

He emphasised the maintenance of safety during project operations and said Vietnam wants and is willing to cooperate with other countries to ensure nuclear safety.

The ASPC is part of annual defence activities within the ASEAN Regional Forum, which is held on a rotary basis.

Established on July 25, 1994 in Thailand, ARF consists of 27 members, including the 10 ASEAN member countries, plus the group’s dialogue partners – the US, Japan, China, Russia, India, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the European Union, and Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Timor Leste.-VNA