The largest security forum in the Asia-Pacific region takes place from May 31 to June 2. It is expected that regional countries will exchange views on hot topics such as Asia’s evolving security order, strategic competition among power countries, and maritime security.

General Ngo Xuan Lich, Minister of National Defense, is leading a Vietnamese military delegation to participate in the dialogue.

Speaking at the opening of the event, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong raised his country’s standpoints on important security issues in the region. He underscored that Singapore together with ASEAN will do their utmost to consolidate peace and foster development in the region.

At the opening of the dialogue

The Singaporean leader emphasized the importance of the stable and constructive relations between the US and China, and urged the two powers to further cooperate on major issues for benefits of the two countries and the region.

In addition, PM Lee spotlighted promising roles of Singapore and other small countries in contributing to building multilateral institutions.

This year’s dialogue has attracted 20 Defense Ministers and hundreds of high-ranking officials of regional countries, including chiefs of defense forces, senior defense officers, national security counselors, parliamentarians, and scholars from dozens of countries worldwide.

The attendance of the Vietnamese military delegation affirms Vietnam’s proactive role in jointly dealing with regional and global issues. It also shows the country’s willingness to expand cooperation and share experience with other countries in addressing common security threats.

Reportedly, acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan delivered a major address on the US's Indo-Pacific strategy at the first plenary session on June 1.

Meanwhile, Chinese Defense Minister Senior Lieutenant General Wei Fenghe will also speak at the dialogue, marking the first time in almost a decade a defense minister of China has attended the annual event.

Especially, the Vietnamese Defense Minister will deliver an important speech at the dialogue’s fifth plenary session on preventing conflicts in contested domains on June 2. His speech is expected to draw attention of the participating delegations in the context that Vietnam is running for a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council of the 2020-2021 tenure and is making preparations for taking the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020.

General Lich and Defense Minister of the Republic of Korea (RoK) Jeong Kyeong-Doo

* On this occasion, on May 31 afternoon, General Lich had bilateral talks with other head delegates participating in the dialogue, and attended an informal meeting between the US Secretary of Defense and Southeast Asian Defense Ministers.

At the first meeting, General Lich and Defense Minister of the Republic of Korea (RoK) Jeong Kyeong-Doo agreed to continue to expand the bilateral defense cooperation on the basis of the joint vision statement on defense cooperation towards 2030, particularly in the fields of defense industry and delegation exchanges.

The Vietnamese Defense Minister affirmed that Vietnam is willing to play a role in the peace process on the Korean peninsula, while his RoK counterpart stressed that the RoK supports Vietnam’s views that all regional disputes should be settled by peaceful means in line with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982).

General Lich invited Mr. Jeong Kyeong-Doo to visit Vietnam in the coming time.

At the second meeting, General Lich and his Australian counterpart Linda Reynolds both expressed pleasure at the bilateral defense cooperation over the past time, especially the signing of the joint vision statement on enhancing Vietnam-Australia defense cooperation. They also agreed to further boost cooperation in various fields including personnel training and UN peacekeeping operations.

At the meeting between the US Secretary of Defense and Southeast Asian Defense Ministers

At the meeting between the US Secretary of Defense and Southeast Asian Defense Ministers, acting US Secretary of Defense Shanahan spoke about the country’s open and inclusive strategy in the Indo-Pacific region. He said that the US supports the ASEAN-centered regional architecture, and that the US is willing to cooperate with ASEAN to build a region of pace, stability, and development. The US official also underlined the US’s point of view on the importance of freedom of navigation and aviation, and free trade in the region.

Translated by Van Hieu