25/10/2017 06:32 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Defence Minister calls for joint efforts in coping with current challenges

Manila, October 24 (VNA) – Defence Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich has called on the ASEAN countries and partners to have joint efforts, shared perspectives and strategic trust, in dealing with current challenges to maintain a peaceful and stable environment. 

Common perspectives and strategic trust can be reached and reinforced only when cooperation is strengthened and made practical with concrete activities, General Lich said while addressing the fourth ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) in Clark city, the Philippines on October 24. 

“Though peace, cooperation and development are currently the major trends of the world, we are still encountering challenges, including those that have ever never been dealt with in civilization and development of humankind,” he said. 

He named challenges in security instability as well as the risk of conflicts and terrorism, climate change, nuclear problems in the Korean Peninsula, and sovereign disputes at sea, along with non-traditional security threats. 

He added that issues related to fishermen will also affect bilateral relationships if they are not addressed properly, stressing the need to educate fishermen and avoid the brutal treatment or use of force when long-term legal solutions are being designed. 

General Lich said that one of the objectives of the ADMM and ADMM+ is maintaining an environment of peace, stability and development in the Southeast Asian region and Asia-Pacific in general so all parties should whole-heartedly and responsibly engage in the mechanisms, with focus on keeping solidarity, unity and central role of ASEAN. 

Over the past years, many partners beyond the bloc have showed their interest in getting involved in the ADMM, he said, suggesting that the meeting should come up with documents defining norms and criteria of choosing members, initially observers and expert groups. 

As Vietnam will take the rotating ASEAN Chair in 2020, its defence ministry was preparing for organizing ASEAN defence-military events in that year, including the 14th ADMM and the 7th ADMM+ as well as a commemoration event marking the 10th anniversary of the ADMM, Lich said, expressing his hope to receive support and experience sharing of all members. 

Addressing the event with the participation of officials from ASEAN’s partner countries of Australia, New Zealand, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, India, the US and Russia, ASEAN Secretary-General Le Luong Minh said mechanisms with ASEAN playing the leading role, like ASEAN+1, ARF, ADMM and ADMM+, have been bringing into full play their efficiency and constituting themselves an important factor to maintain a peaceful environment in the region, referring to ADMM+ as a practical cooperation forum contributing to keeping stability in Asia-Pacific. 

He noted that the East Sea issue has still been given priority during ASEAN discussions in the past year, as evidenced by the adoption of the draft of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) and the building of mechanisms to build trust among countries involved to deal with emergency matters in the East Sea. 

Minh added that trans-national crimes, counter-terrorism, drug trafficking fight and cyber security are also among concerns of the association. The ASEAN Secretary General said that following the 11th ADMM on October 30, the first phase of the ASEAN Direct Infrastructure (ADI) has become operational from October 24. 

Participants at the fourth ADMM+ agreed that the ADMM+ has played an increasingly important role in maintaining peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world. 

They gave much space to exchange viewpoints on security—defence issues in the region and the world, including terrorism, extreme violation and recent developments in the Korean Peninsula as well as non-traditional security challenges. 

Many countries highlighted the significance of abiding by international law in settling maritime disputes, while showing support to the handling of the conflicts through peaceful measures in line with international law. 

They also affirmed the importance of effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and the soon reaching of the COC, thus building trust and keeping peace, security and stability in the region. 

At the meeting, Philippines Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana informed that from 2018, the ADMM+ will be held annually. 

He also handed over the ADMM and ADMM+ Chair to Singaporean Defence Minister Ng Eng Heng as Singapore will be the ASEAN Chair in 2018.