Defence minister hails Thailand’s role in ASEAN defence cooperation, affirms ties with Laos
Sea-related policies must solve domestic problems

Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich attended the 13th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) in Bangkok, Thailand on Thursday, which ended with a joint declaration on security.— Photo


The joint declaration will strengthen defence co-ordination among ASEAN member countries and between ASEAN and its ADMM Plus partners. It highlighted the importance of maintaining peace and freedom of navigation in the East Sea and the need to to deal with disputes peacefully and in line with the law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The document also reiterated the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), paving the way to introduce a practical Code of Conduct (COC).

The 13th ADMM also adopted several documents on guidelines for assessment of the ADMM Initiatives, the role of ASEAN defence establishments in border management and the expansion of the ASEAN direct communications infrastructure (ADI). The documents also dealt with the establishment of the ASEAN Military Medicine Conference, the ASEAN Our Eyes initiative and the ADMM Guidelines for Maritime Interaction.

The ASEAN defence ministers agreed to hold an informal meeting with representatives of China, the US, Russia and Japan.

Speaking at the event, Minister Lich suggested the ASEAN strengthen its self-reliance and uphold its leading role in regional co-operation mechanisms.

He expressed his belief that the bloc will find success in defence collaboration and contribute to peace, stability and development in the region.

Lich said Vietnam is actively preparing to chair ASEAN next year, saying the country will continue pushing forward the bloc’s initiatives. He also urged countries to partner with Vietnam so it can fulfill role as the host country in 2020.

The Vietnamese delegate said Vietnam supports the region’s joint efforts to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which is often associated with other transnational crimes such as human trafficking, drug trafficking and piracy.

He said Vietnam has taken steps to prevent its fishermen from encroaching on other countries’ waters, and vice versa.

The Vietnamese Defence Ministry will join Thailand’s initiative promoting the role of armed forces and defence agencies in dealing with IUU fishing, Lich said.

He also voiced support for Thailand’s initiative promoting awareness of the role of ASEAN defence establishments in supporting border management, saying Vietnam’s Defence Ministry pays special attention to boosting co-operation between border guard forces and neighbouring countries.

The 13th ADMM opened in Bangkok on July 10 under the theme “Sustainable Security".