10/03/2020 11:01 GMT+7 print

ASEAN’s defense cooperation against disease outbreaks

The Defense Ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have issued a joint statement on defense cooperation against disease outbreaks.

The following is the full text of the Joint Statement:

WE, the Defense Ministers of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met in Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Viet Nam on 19 February 2020; NOTING with grave concern the current outbreak of severe respiratory illness caused by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which affects the well-being of our people, the economic development as well as regional security and stability;

RECOGNIZING the declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 30 January 2020 that the situation is a “public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC);

ENHANCING institutional and human capacities and approaches to support the effective implementation of policies, strategies and programs in preparing and responding to all health-related hazards and emerging threats;

EXTENDING our deepest sympathies to the countries, communities and individuals impacted by the outbreak;

NOTING the effective efforts by ASEAN Member States in coping with COVID-19 to protect their citizens in their respective countries; share and value the efforts of the Government of the People’s Republic of China in dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak, in which the Chinese Ministry of National Defense plays an important part;

REAFFIRMING the Chairman’s Statement on ASEAN collective response to the outbreak of COVID-19 on 15 February 2020;

ACKNOWLEDGING the work of ASEAN in dealing with COVID-19 through the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC), including the ongoing measures being undertaken by the ASEAN Health sector;

APPLAUDING Vietnam’s proactive, thorough and effective preparation for ASEAN 2020, including taking preventive measures against COVID-19;
 

The ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Retreat (ADMM Retreat) kicked off on Feb 19 in Hanoi, marking the start of the military-defense activities
during the year the country holds the ASEAN Chairmanship. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA



Vietnamese Defense Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich makes the opening speech. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

The ASEAN - Australia Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting takes place in Hanoi within the framework of the ADMM Retreat. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA 


 At the ASEAN - Australia Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA
 

COMMENDING the healthcare personnel who are at the frontlines of fighting the outbreak;

ACKNOWLEDGING that regional and international collaboration is required to deal with the effects of the outbreaks, which are unpredictable;

REAFFIRMING our commitment to promote defense cooperation, including in military medicine cooperation and information sharing to ensure a peaceful, safe and stable environment; and emphasize the importance of ASEAN unity and solidarity in response to the disease that may harm the people of ASEAN;

ENCOURAGED by the strong collaboration among ASEAN, including the ASEAN Center for Military Medicine, ASEAN Chiefs of Military Medicine Conference, ASEAN Military Medicine Conference, and the Network of ASEAN Chemical, Biological and Radiological Defense Experts as well as the cooperation with our external partners within the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) Experts’ Working Group on Military Medicine;

EXEMPLIFYING the spirit of a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community in times of crisis and COMMITTING to doing our part, and staying united to overcome the COVID-19 outbreak for the benefit of the people of ASEAN;

WE HEREBY RESOLVE TO:

1. ENHANCE practical cooperation among ASEAN defense establishments to organize information and best practice sharing activities, and with our external partners, bilaterally or multilaterally including considering to conduct a tabletop exercise within the framework of the ASEAN Center of Military Medicine, which Viet Nam is ready to host at the earliest opportunity in dealing with COVID-19;

2. LEVERAGE the Network of ASEAN Chemical, Biological and Radiological Defense Experts to enhance professional linkages, and promote scientific cooperation to manage infectious disease outbreaks;



Defense Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich has a bilateral meeting with his Lao counterpart Chansamone Chanyalath. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA


Defense Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich meets with his Australian counterpart Linda Reynolds. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA


 Defense Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich has a meeting with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Tea Banh. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA


Defense Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich and ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA


Defense Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich meets with Thai Deputy Defense Minister Chaichan Changmongkol. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA


Defense Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich and Indonesian Secretary General of Defense Ministry, Vice Admiral Agus Setiadji. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

 Myanmar Defense Minister Sein Win visits the Vietnam Military History Museum. Photo: Duong Giang/VNA

3. ENCOURAGE new initiatives and ways of cooperation contributing to ASEAN’s overall efforts to counter fake news regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and ensure our people are well informed of the situation;

4. COOPERATE proactively with other relevant sectorial bodies of ASEAN in tackling the COVID-19 in the spirit of ASEAN’s solidarity, and with other countries in the region and the world;

5. DO our part for public health and social cohesion by supporting the efforts of our respective national health authorities as well as utilizing ASEAN’s regional health mechanisms for coordination and cooperation in response to this emerging public health threat;

6. REMAIN resolutely committed to doing our part, and staying united to overcome the COVID-19 outbreak for the benefit of the people of ASEAN.

 
By VNA/VNP