|Deputy Defence Minister Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh delivers a speech at the video conference (Photo: The Defence Ministry)
A video conference featuring the ASEAN Regional Forum Defence Officials’ Dialogue (ARF DOD) took place in Hanoi on July 1 under the co-chair of both the delegations from Vietnam and the United States.
The occasion was held with the aim of boosting defence co-operation to contribute to epidemic prevention within the framework of the ASEAN Regional Forum, as well as serving as preparation for the 17th ASEAN Regional Security Policy Conference which is scheduled to take place on July 8.
During his speech, Deputy Defence Minister Vinh stated that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been adversely affecting all economic, political, and social activities globally.
Despite these challenges, as a means of preventing the pandemic from hindering ASEAN co-operation activities and based on the theme of the ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2020 "Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN”, the bloc and its partners have stayed active in dealing with the realities of a new situation.
This has seen a broad range of activities in the form of an online platform launched, in addition to the implementation of the results from the special ASEAN Summit on COVID-19 Response, the ASEAN + 3 Summit on COVD-19, and the Joint Statement by the ASEAN Defence Ministers on Defense Cooperation Against Disease Outbreaks.
Moreover, ASEAN has also successfully organised an online drill aimed at tackling the military medical situation of ASEAN in terms of preventing the spread of the COVID-19, with the drill held for the purpose of sharing experiences and augmenting co-operation in dealing with the non-traditional security threats facing the world.
With regard to the role and significance of the ARF, Deputy Defence Minister Vinh affirmed that the ARF is a co-operation mechanism chaired by diplomatic channels, in which defence and security co-operation are vital for the practical implementation of measures as a means of building trust and allowing preventive diplomacy.
Despite these positives, with the development of the ADMM + co-operation structure and a number of other defence co-operation structures, the pace of security co-operation in the ARF has somewhat abated in recent years. As part of the country’s role as ASEAN Chair, the Vietnam Ministry of Defence will strive to promote effectiveness and provide a boost to this vital co-operation channel, Deputy Defence Minister Vinh stressed.
During the occasion delegates also agreed on the need to strengthen connectivity in defence co-operation between ADMM and ARF channels.
Furthermore, discussions firmly focused on military medical co-operation and humanitarian assistance, disaster relief in response to epidemics, technical issues, and preparations for the agenda of the upcoming the 17th ASEAN Regional Security Policy Conference.