In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency, Deputy Defence Minister, Sen. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh also held that small countries now participate in the dialogue with an equal footing and voice compared to major powers, describing this as a new and progressive point in this forum.
He further pointed out that the number of participants and contents of the dialogue is very large, and this manifests two aspects, namely more and more countries are interested in security in Asia-Pacific and security in the region is of great interest but many issues are emerging here.
According to the official, the focus of attention of participating countries now is the relations among the large powers, how to solve the many disputes surfacing in the region, and the need for trans-national cooperation to solve the new security issues.
Regarding the speech by host Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong which stresses the role of small countries in multilateral mechanisms as well as affirms the central role of ASEAN in the regional security structure, Deputy Minister Vinh stressed that the centrality of the ASEAN in multilateral cooperation in the region is the decisive factor of the future of stability and development of Asia-the Pacific in general and Southeast Asia in particular.
However, this is also a challenge now, as there is a question whether that centrality exists. It stems from the question whether ASEAN has a common voice and solidarity in face of the regional major issue.
Vinh also described Lee’s speech as very significant as it touched upon a long period in which the region has experienced many ups and downs on the way to peace and stability but not sustainable like today.