Under the authorization of the Defense Minister, Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Defense Minister led a high-ranking military delegation to attend the event.

The ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Retreat, held at the same time with the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting Retreat, kicked off activities by Singapore's chairmanship of ASEAN 2018. The meeting aimed to map out defense-security cooperation among ASEAN member states this year, which focuses on counter-terrorism, collaboration in responding to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons, and a Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES) and a similar document for military aircraft, proposed by the host Singapore.


Participating experts also discussed terrorist threats facing Southeast Asia and agreed to release a joint statement of the ASEAN Defense Ministers to improve their anti-terrorism cooperation in the region. Apart from emerging threats, heads of the participating delegations also agreed to continue intensifying cooperation and raise awareness of existing security threats, such as territorial disputes and maritime security.

Addressing the meeting, General Vinh affirmed that Vietnam supports three targets of ASEAN year of 2018 proposed by Singapore, especially the collaboration in responding to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.

Particularly, the Vietnamese general held that threats on chemical weapons are not new concerns for Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The three countries have all suffered chemical attacks after the war for 50 years now. Vietnam is willing to share experiences in controlling and detoxifying chemical substances.

As for the CUES, Vietnam requested that the CUES be coupled with the East Sea (South China Sea) issue with the aim of preparing for an effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), he said.

According to General Vinh, though the region has seen relatively stable development in the waters recently, there still remains potential for unpredictable challenges of instability. As a result, ASEAN member countries must further cooperate together and share views on the issue, especially in complying with basic principles of international law, showing respect for legal and diplomatic processes, and seriously maintaining maritime security and safety, and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea. Additionally, relevant parties have to strictly abide by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), while closely working together for the early approval of an effective and legally-binding COC.

* The same day, Singapore also hosted the ASEAN-China Defense Ministers' Informal Meeting with the participation of defense leaders of ASEAN member states and the Chinese Defense Minister, Senior Lieutenant General Chang Wanquan.

At the meeting, ASEAN delegates emphasized the increasing cooperation in various fields between ASEAN and China, and hoped that China will considerably contribute to peace, stability and security in the region.

On the occasion of the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Retreat, Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong received head delegates. The Singaporean leader highly valued the contribution of ASEAN member states to the regional defense cooperation, adding that ASEAN must boost solidarity to tackle common security threats.

* Also on February 6, the Vietnamese high-ranking military delegation attended the opening ceremony for the Singapore Airshow 2018.

Translated by Van Hieu