Vietnam proposes organizing drills to cope with spread of COVID-19

VOV.VN - As ASEAN Military Medicine Chair, Vietnam suggests member states consider organizing drills to cope with disease outbreaks and spread in 2020, Gen. Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich, said at the ongoing ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) Retreat on February 19 in Hanoi.

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Politburo member, Vice Secretary of the Central Military Commission and Minister of National Defence  Ngo Xuan Lich addresses the event
At the conference, the delegates focused their discussion on the world situation, intra-regional defence cooperation, announced activities to be carried out during the year, and agreed in principle some documents, especially the two joint statements of ADMM and ADMM +.

They noted that, since being first organized in Malaysia in 2006, ADMM has increasingly affirmed its role as an effective dialogue and exchange mechanism regarding strategic, defence and security issues.

ADMM also creates a foundation to promote and formulate practical cooperation initiatives in a multitude of fields, especially non-traditional security issues such as military medicine, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief, thereby contributing to building trust, and deepening mutual understanding and trust among member states.

According to the delegates, the regional bloc is currently facing numerous challenges, including the competition of major countries in the region, maritime security challenges, such as the East Sea issue, and the emergence of non-traditional security challenges.

In the context of the rapid outbreak and spread of the Covid-19 epidemic that has posed a common challenge to both the region and the world, participants expressed concern about the seriousness of the disease as well as the spread of unverified information about the epidemic on social networks, thus causing public worries.

They also affirmed Vietnam's responsibility for effectively responding to the Covid-19 epidemic in order to ensure health security for the ADMM Retreat as well as subsequent activities during the ASEAN Chair Year 2020.  As the Chair of the Board of Directors of the ASEAN Military Medical Center in 2020, Vietnam has proposed member countries launch drills to cope with the spread of the epidemic in 2020.

Delegates also agreed that in order to deal with these challenges, ASEAN needs to continue intensifying intra-regional cohesion in order to reach a consensus and create collective strength to respond to external impacts in a flexible manner.

In his remarks, Politburo member, Vice Secretary of the Central Military Commission and Minister of National Defence  Ngo Xuan Lich thanked ASEAN member states for supporting Vietnam in undertaking its rotary Chair of ASEAN. He expressed his confidence that the defence-military cooperation channel will continue to contribute significantly to the building of the ASEAN Community in 2020, bringing a better life to ASEAN people.

Vietnam called for partner countries in the ADMM Plus mechanism to bolster their cooperation in improving ASEAN countries’ capacity in military medicine, especially for responding to disease outbreaks, he said.

Minister Lich noted with satisfaction the outcome of the working session of heads of ADSOM delegations on February 18, which consented to issue a joint statement on defence cooperation against disease outbreaks. He described the joint statement as specific evidence of the unity, and determination of ASEAN when facing common security challenges.

He also underscored the importance of the ADMM Retreat- the first high-level event during Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2020 as it outlines orientations for ASEAN defence cooperation in 2020 as well as prepares for ADMM and ADMM Plus at the end of the year.

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Gen. Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich hosts ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi (Photo:VNA)

On the same day, Minister of National Defence Gen. Ngo Xuan Lich hosted a reception for ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi within the framework of the ADMM Retreat.

Minister Lich said Vietnam hopes to receive direct assistance from the ASEAN Secretariat in building meetings’ agenda, consulting on initiatives, and training staff for conferences.

The country also looks forwards to the Secretariat’s support before, during and after meetings of the ADMM and ADMM Plus mechanisms that Vietnam will host, Lich added.

Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi, in turn, affirmed that in his position, he will actively help Vietnam during its ASEAN chairmanship this year, towards build a strong ASEAN Community and boost the regional bloc’s substantive cooperation across a variety of fields for the sake of peace and security in the region and the world.