Vietnam will continue to actively cooperate with other ASEAN members and partners as well as the world community to build a Southeast Asian region of peace, stability and development, affirmed a Vietnamese defence official.

Addressing the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Retreat in Bali, Indonesia, on Oct. 24, Deputy Minister of National Defence Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh also spoke of Vietnam’s stance on the settlement of issues relating to the East Sea.

Vinh informed ASEAN members of the content of the agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea issues between Vietnam and China that was signed between the two countries during Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s recent visit to China.

ASEAN members highlighted Vietnam’s spirit of independence and self-reliance, its sense of responsibility and efforts in cooperating with concerned parties, especially China, to solve issues relating to the East Sea in order to maintain peace and stability in the region.

The ADMM Retreat assessed defence and security cooperation activities in 2011, put forward orientations for future cooperation and discussed regional security issues of ASEAN members’ concern.

On regional security issues, ASEAN members recognised natural calamities as an emerging challenge that has pushed millions of people in Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam into difficult situations.

Regarding maritime security issue, ASEAN Defence Ministers expressed the wish to build the East Sea into the region of peace, cooperation and development, settle all disputes based on the principle of peaceful negotiations and in line with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

The Philippine Defence Minister put forward an initiative to organise a dialogue on East Sea security at the ASEAN Defence Ministerial level.

At the end of the meeting, Cambodia took over the ADMM presidency from Indonesia.

On the sidelines of the meeting, heads of the delegations to the ADMM held an informal meeting with US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta who is in Indonesia to work with the Indonesia Defence Minister.

The US Secretary laid stress on the important role of Southeast Asia in the US security policy, saying that ASEAN is becoming a centre and a momentum to promote the Asia-Pacific regional security cooperation mechanisms.

The US wants to enhance cooperation with ASEAN to ensure long-term peace and stability in the region, he said./.