The 17th ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces’ Meeting (ACDFM-17) was held online by the Ministry of National Defence on September 24 under the theme “Military cooperation for a cohesive and responsive ASEAN”.
Sen. Lt. Gen. Phan Van Giang, Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army and Deputy Minister of National Defence, speaks at the 17th ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces’ Meeting on September 24 (Photo: VNA)
Sen. Lt. Gen. Phan Van Giang, Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army and Deputy Minister of National Defence, chaired the event, which was also attended by leaders of other ASEAN countries’ defence forces, heads of delegations to the 17th ASEAN Military Intelligence Meeting (AMIM-17) and the 10th ASEAN Military Operations Meeting (AMOM-10), along with ambassadors and defence attachés of member states.
Participants highly valued Vietnam’s efforts amid COVID-19 to actively and effectively carry out the priorities and initiatives in its ASEAN Chairmanship this year, including successfully organising the bloc’s defence - military meetings, timely proposing and realising many initiatives to combat the pandemic, and implementing activities within the ASEAN defence and military cooperation framework.
Recognising outcomes of the earlier AMIM-17 and AMOM-10 to prepare for this meeting, they held that thanks to efforts by each country and close coordination among member nations, ASEAN militaries have carried out cooperation activities fruitfully, especially those within the framework of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus Experts’ Working Groups.
That has helped enhance mutual understanding and trust and promote coordination among ASEAN militaries as well as between ASEAN and partner countries, thereby contributing to regional peace and stability, and the bloc’s cooperation momentum and central role in ASEAN-led mechanisms, according to the officials.
In terms of response to COVID-19-triggered challenges, the chiefs of defence forces said the military of each member nation has shown their core role in concurrently performing regular tasks and actively taking part in common efforts by their countries’ governments, greatly helping to contain the pandemic.
Regarding the global and regional situation, they shared the view that traditional and non-traditional challenges facing the region right now, like maritime security, cyber security, terrorism, trans-national crime, climate change and the pandemic, pose threat to regional peace and stability.
They affirmed their support for the maintenance of peace, stability, security, safety, and freedom of navigation in the East Sea, agreeing that ASEAN needs to persist in the principled stance of peacefully resolving disputes and disagreements on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
In that context, ASEAN militaries should further bolster result-oriented cooperation and cohesion within the bloc so as to strengthen mutual trust and come together to cope with challenges, helping to fulfil targets in ASEAN Community building and improve the association’s central role in the region and the world, the officials said.
Addressing the meeting, Sen. Lt. Gen. Giang highlighted the contributions of the Vietnam People’s Army to the COVID-19 fight and echoed concerns about complex recent developments in the East Sea.
He called on countries to refrain from actions that may escalate tensions while increasing dialogue and cooperation to tackle disagreements on the basis of international law, particularly the 1982 UNCLOS.
Giang proposed ASEAN militaries continue promoting the ability to coordinate with one another in joint activities and further bring into play the role and effectiveness of existing military cooperation mechanisms, in order to build trust, reinforce solidarity, and create collective strength to jointly cope with common challenges, thus helping to maintain ASEAN’s central role in a changing regional architecture for the sake of regional peace and stability.
At the meeting, Vietnam handed over the ACDFM chairmanship to Brunei./.VNA