Vietnamese Minister of National Defence General Ngo Xuan Lich (R) meets with Defence Minister of New Zealand Ron Mark in Singapore on June 1 (Photo: VNA)

Singapore (VNA) – Vietnamese Minister of National Defence General Ngo Xuan Lich had bilateral meetings with defence officials of New Zealand, the UK and Singapore on June 1 on the sidelines of the 17th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

Meeting with Defence Minister of New Zealand Ron Mark, Minister Lich expressed his delight at the recent development of Vietnam-New Zealand relations, including defence ties. He noted the two sides have frequently exchanged delegations at all levels and supported each other at multilateral forums, adding that visits by naval ships have also contributed to their connections.

He thanked the Defence Ministry of New Zealand for effectively helping to provide English training for Vietnamese officers to take part in United Nations peacekeeping missions.

The two ministers agreed to bolster cooperation in the fields matching their demand such as training, cyber security, search and rescue, and participation in UN peacekeeping activities.

Talking to UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, Lich appreciated the UK’s support for Vietnam to replace the British level-2 field hospital in South Sudan and improve English skills of officers preparing to join UN peacekeeping missions.

To bring defence ties on par with the countries’ strategic partnership, the two sides agreed to increase all-level mutual visits, effectively carry out dialogue and cooperation mechanisms, continue to complete and sign cooperation documents, support each other at multilateral forums, and enhance ties in UN peacekeeping.

At the meeting with Singaporean Defence Minister Ng Eng Heng, the Vietnamese official congratulated Singapore and its army on successfully organising the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Retreat and the ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces Informal Meeting. He voiced his belief that the country will fulfil the tasks of ASEAN Chair in 2018, thus helping to maintain the bloc’s central role and leadership.

The two ministers shared the view that over the past years, especially since the signing of the bilateral defence cooperation agreement in 2009, their defence relations have grown positively and resulted in initial practical outcomes.

Authorised agencies have been coordinating actively to implement the agreement, focusing on delegation exchanges, personnel training, exchanges of young officers, cooperation between naval, air and military medicine forces, collaboration between strategic research institutes, and coordination at multilateral forums, they noted.

Minister Lich asked Singapore to support Vietnam when his country acts as ASEAN Chair in 2020.-VNA