During the visit, General Vinh attended the EUMC meeting at the level of the EU Chiefs of Defense. Participating in the meeting for the first time as a special guest, General Vinh delivered a keynote speech at the session on the UN Peacekeeping Operations.

General Michail Kostarakos (R), Chairman of the EUMC, welcoming Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Vietnamese Deputy-Defense Minister

In his speech, the Deputy-Defense Minister highly valued the EU’s contributions to peacekeeping activities and shared that Vietnam has increasingly made its contributions to UN Peacekeeping Operations in line with its capacity and peaceful foreign policy.

General Vinh said that after nearly four years of participating in the UN Peacekeeping Operations, Vietnam has so far sent 20 officers to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), notably including one female officer.

In the coming time, Vietnam plans to send more individual officers to UN missions with priority given to female officers, successfully deploy a level-2 field hospital to Bentiu, South Sudan, to replace the one currently operated by the UK in the second quarter of this year and deploy an engineer company to a suitable UN mission in 2019 or 2020.

To strengthen defense relations, especially in the UN Peacekeeping Operations, between Vietnam and the EU and the EU member states, the Vietnamese general mentioned the necessity of establishing defense relations, such as becoming an EU’s official partner on defense cooperation by signing a Joint Vision Statement on Defense and a Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Defense Cooperation between Vietnam and the EU (including contents related to the UN Peacekeeping Operations), increasing the exchange of visits at all levels, and promoting consultation in multilateral fora and mechanisms where the two sides are members, like the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus.

In cooperation on the UN Peacekeeping Operations, the two sides should promote expertise and experience-sharing through joint training activities while organizing workshops and exchanging experts in order to assist Vietnam in improving its capacity and consult with UN missions on equipment procurement procedures for the prospective Vietnamese UN Peacekeeping Engineer Company. Moreover, exchanges between the Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the EU members’ peacekeeping training centers should be promoted.

The EUMC meeting at the level of the EU Chiefs of Defense took place for two days with different meeting sessions to discuss security and defense situations related to the EU and operations that this organization is conducting such as EUNAVFOR MED Operation SOPHIA (the EU’s naval mission in the Mediterranean attempting to curb people smuggling from North Africa) and EUNAVFOR Somalia Operation ATALANTA (the EU protection mission for World Food Program and African Union Missions in Somalia and anti-piracy missions in the seas off Somalia).

The meeting this year saw the participation of Chiefs of Defense from 28 EU members, representatives from the UN, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the US Africa Command, the Republic of Korea, Jordan, Serbia, Cuba, and Vietnam.

On the sidelines of the meeting, General Vinh also had bilateral meetings with chiefs of defense of some other countries and worked with the EU External Action Service.

Translated by Nam Long