Defence Minister calls for mechanisms to realise commitment hinh anh 1Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh (Source: VNA)

Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh said ASEAN and China should put in place cooperative mechanisms to realise their commitment to maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea and in the region, so that their pledge should not stop at being just words but be turned into action.

Speaking to the Vietnam News Agency when in Beijing to attend the fifth informal meeting of China-ASEAN Defence Ministers and the Xiangshan forum, Minister Thanh said all the discussions show that ASEAN countries and their partners share the wish for peace and stability in the East Sea and in the region.

“Leaders of the countries have declared this and the defence ministers also declared the same, but what is important is to step by step put in place cooperative mechanisms to realise those declarations,” the minister said.

He underlined the importance of this informal meeting of China-ASEAN Defence Ministers, which took place in Beijing for the first time since its inception, adding that at the meeting, the ministers not only exchanged ideas, viewpoints and policies but also discussed measures to carry out real cooperation between the ASEAN and China.

According to Minister Thanh, at this meeting, China acknowledged the existence of territorial disputes on the East Sea between China and ASEAN countries, and proposed maintaining a peaceful and stable environment on the East Sea. China also repeated its respect for ASEAN’s central and key role in cooperative mechanisms, and suggested increasing joint exercises on search and rescue, disaster response and humanitarian aid provision as part of China-ASEAN cooperation, along with joint patrols and increased coordination in peace keeping activities, military medicine and other fields with ASEAN countries.

Mechanisms to manage disputes were also tabled for discussion, the minister said, adding that Vietnam and most ASEAN countries have taken note of China’s proposals.
Thanh revealed that the ministers reached consensus on the building of a Code of Conduct (COC) to control disputes and the establishment of hotlines, similar to the existing hotline between the Defence Minister of Vietnam and China.

He said at the third ASEAN Defence Ministers Plus (ADMM+) conference, slated for Kuala Lumpur in November, working groups will discuss and make recommendations to the ADMM+ to build cooperation mechanisms with China and other partners and dialogue partners of ASEAN..

He underlined that ideas and policies discussed at meetings and conferences so far have help boost activities in reality such as drills on humanitarian and disaster aid between ASEAN countries and between ASEAN countries with partners and dialogue countries. Vietnam’s Navy has held joint patrols with their Chinese, Thai and Cambodian counterparts and more will be held in the future.-VNA