Deputy Minister of National Defence Sen. Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh made the statement in a recent interview with Vietnam News Agency during his participation in the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) Retreat in Singapore on February 5-6.
Besides new security challenges, ASEAN should heighten vigilance over old ones such as marine security, terrorism, conflicts or even war, he warned.
The involved parties are seeking to develop a Code of Conduct in the East Sea to ensure legal and binding principles based on multinational consensus, he said.
The official reiterated Vietnam’s stance of not accepting the illegal construction of bases on its territorial islands.
The only way for ASEAN member states to cope with these challenges is strengthening solidarity, he said.
He emphasised Vietnam’s priorities in its external defence policy, which focuses on strengthening bilateral cooperation with neighbouring countries such as Laos, Cambodia and China, other countries like the US and Russia, and ASEAN and the European Union (EU).
Regarding multilateral relations, Vietnam will play a better role in the regional defence cooperation, he said, adding that the EU military defence community is interested in a strategic defence partnership with Vietnam.
Vietnam will enhance cooperation within the framework of the United Nations (UN) by sending soldiers to UN peacekeeping missions.
The country will engage in joint exercises and search and rescue activities in addition to providing humanitarian assistance and building a defence-based industry, he said.
Soon, the Central Military Commission will adopt a plan on international integration and external defence relations for 2018-2021 to contribute to national peace, stability, and protection of sovereignty and independence, he added.