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ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Retreat opens in Hanoi

The ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Retreat (ADMM Retreat) officially opened in Hanoi on February 19 morning, under the chair of Vietnam’s Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich.

In his opening remark, Minister Lich thanked ASEAN member countries for supporting Vietnam in performing its rotary Chair of ASEAN. He expressed his belief that the defence-military cooperation channel will continue to contribute importantly to the building of the ASEAN Community in 2020, bringing a better life for ASEAN people.

Lich stressed that the ADMM Retreat took place amidst complicated developments of security challenges, especially the outbreak and rapid spread of the acute respiratory disease caused by coronavirus (COVID-19).

As ASEAN Military Medicine Chair, Vietnam proposed that member countries consider organizing drills to cope with disease outbreaks and spread in 2020, he said.

He went on to say that Brunei and Australia, as co-chairs of the ADMM-Plus Experts' Working Group on Military Medicine during 2020-2023, are encouraged to include the response to disease outbreaks in field exercises during the three-year working programme.

Vietnam also called for partner countries in the ADMM Plus mechanism to enhance their cooperation in raising ASEAN countries’ capacity in military medicine, especially for responding to disease outbreaks, the minister said.

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

According to the minister, the ADMM Retreat, which is the first high-level event during Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2020, is very important in outlining the orientation for ASEAN defence cooperation in 2020 as well as in preparing for ADMM and ADMM Plus at the end of the year.

Lich urged delegates to engage in straightforward and open discussions on security challenges faced by the region and the world, particular the ASEAN, and on assessment of ADMM, ADMM+ cooperative mechanisms, as well as directions and contents for cooperation in the time ahead.