|Vietnamese Minister of Defense addresses the 18th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
The forum was an opportunity for countries to share their opinions about current hot issues in the region and around the world like the changing security order in Asia, strategic competitions between major economies, and marine security.
The 2019 Shangri-La Dialogue drew a record number of government delegations from 57 countries and territories.
Security in the Asia Pacific region and around the world is facing new challenges. Competition has have become fiercer and disputes have expanded to politics, diplomacy, economic, trade, natural resources, the environment, territorial and marine sovereignty, and cyber space. There are both traditional and non-traditional challenges.
The US-China trade war, the US-the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) denuclearization talks, and security challenges in the East Sea were high on the agenda of this year’s forum. Despite tough statements, all parties agreed that preventing conflicts will benefit everyone.
The Chinese Defense Minister, during a discussion on the peaceful settling of disputes, stressed the importance of maintaining contact and promoting positive military relations with the US. US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan stressed the importance of dialogue and improved relations with China on the basis of respecting national sovereignty and independence of all countries.
Forum participants agreed that conflicts impact not just the conflicting countries but the whole world.
Vietnam’s message: Upholding peaceful dialogue
In his speech at the forum, Vietnamese Minister of Defense Ngo Xuan Lich called for persistent dialogues and partnership in resolving disputes. Vietnam’s stance on security issues was unchanged at this forum and its formula seemed appropriate to the current situation, especially to the settlement of security challenges in the East Sea.
By upholding peace and stability, countries can cooperate and find ways to narrow differences, peacefully settle disputes, work together to manage disputes, and prevent conflict and wars. This could be a long and complicated process requiring strong political determination and a joint effort by all countries.
The Vietnamese minister also talked about Vietnam’s plans when it takes over the rotary Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2020. He said Vietnam plans many activities in the framework of the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and ADMM Plus, including a Hanoi declaration of ASEAN defence ministers on bolstering the ASEAN defence partnership and ASEAN solidarity in meeting regional challenges.
As Chair of ASEAN in 2020, Vietnam also hopes to outline a strategic vision for Asia-Pacific in the framework of ADMM Plus which will cover all security issues and in the next 10 years.