Military officers from ASEAN member states exchanged views on issues regarding regional security and measures to enhance results-oriented cooperation between the operations departments of armies in the region,
during the 10th ASEAN Military Operations Meeting (AMOM-10) held online on September 16. The meeting was chaired by Lt. Gen. Thai Dai Ngoc, head of the Operations Department under the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army.
Lt. Gen. Thai Dai Ngoc, head of the Operations Department under the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army.
This was the first time Vietnam assumed the role of the host. With the theme "Military Cooperation for a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN", delegates shared their views on regional security issues of mutual concern and measures to strengthen substantive cooperation among the military operational agencies of ASEAN countries.
In his opening remarks, Lt. Gen. Thai Dai Ngoc said that, in the face of the negative impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, inherent security hotspots were increasingly complicated.
He stated that the risk of military conflict in the East Sea and East China Sea is increasing, due to the increase in military activities despite international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) and regional commitments. The Covid-19 epidemic dispersed public concerns as well as international security management mechanisms, he said.
Non-traditional security challenges are increasingly diversified and complex such as: terrorism, piracy, cybersecurity, the effects of climate change, natural disasters, and especially the Covid-19 pandemic ... These have made a profound impact on world politics and relations between countries, Ngoc said.
"This proves that if common awareness of non-traditional security challenges such as marine security, security of the marine environment, and security of water resources on rivers, the consequences will be very unpredictable," Lieutenant General Thai Dai Ngoc said.
Ngoc said that it is necessary to strengthen cooperation in building trust through international law and regional commitments, working together such as drills, code practice, and avoidance of marine sudden collisions and guidance to avoid unexpected air collisions.
The exchange of dialogues between the forces operating on the field will contribute to improving mutual understanding and solving conflicts from the very beginning.
Lt. Gen. Ngoc said that the countries are neighbors of each other on land or at sea, and should refrain from using force in any case.
Regarding the response to the unprecedented challenge posed by Covid-19 pandemic, each ASEAN army has carried out regular missions and participated in the joint efforts of the governments and countries to prevent and repel the disease.
In Vietnam, since the outbreak of Covid-19, the military has actively participated in the joint efforts of the Government, providing quarantine locations, participating in disinfection and detoxification at outbreaks, researching and producing testing kits, managing and monitoring border and border areas, and implementing epidemic prevention in the army and people.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the field cooperation activities among the militaries of ASEAN countries, some of which have been delayed or forced to cancel. However, difficulties and challenges are also an opportunity to demonstrate ASEAN's resilience, cohesion and adaptation, including the military force.
The militaries of ASEAN countries have promoted activities in accordance with the context, shared online experiences on epidemic prevention, and organized online seminars. In particular, through the ASEAN Military Medical Center, an online drill on handling cases of epidemic prevention among ASEAN military medical staff was held in May 2020.
The representative of Vietnam said: "Disease and other security challenges cannot hinder our cooperation, and under such conditions, cooperation must be strengthened to overcome the difficulties and challenges brought by circumstances."
At the meeting, delegates pointed to diverse, complex non-traditional security challenges like terrorism, piracy, cyber security, climate change, and natural disasters.
Notably, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted field military cooperation activities between armies of ASEAN countries, they said, commending the role played by forces in the fight against the pandemic.
They also lauded Vietnam as the ASEAN Chair 2020 amid the pandemic, saying the country has successfully organized many defense-military meetings and promptly raised proposals and implemented initiatives in the pandemic fight and defense-military collaboration.
Operations departments will increase discussions on regional security issues of shared concern, while working to enhance their mutual understanding and trust, they agreed.
Delegates reached consensus on the action plan for 2020-2022, to be submitted to ACDFM-17 for approval.
Ngoc transferred the AMOM Chairmanship to Brunei at the meeting.