Themed “Defense cooperation for a cohesive and responsive ASEAN,” the AMOM-10 provided a forum for militaries of ASEAN countries to share their positions on regional security issues of mutual concern and discuss measures to enhance cooperation.

Vietnamese delegates at the meeting

At the meeting, the head delegates exchanged views on security challenges in the region, including maritime security in general and the East Sea (South China Sea) issue in particular, counter-terrorism, piracy, and more. They also proposed measures to deal with both traditional and non-traditional security challenges effectively.

The head delegates all agreed to boost cooperation in a more substantial, pro-active, and flexible way so as to cope with emerging security challenges, especially the COVID-19 pandemic. They also shared experience in COVID-19 prevention and control. Lieutenant General Thai Dai Ngoc, Director of the Department of Operations under the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army and Chairman of the AMOM-10, stressed that in dealing with the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19, militaries of ASEAN countries have had to both carry out regular tasks and curb the pandemic.

According to the head delegate of Brunei, there should be an appropriate way to effectively prevent the pandemic without affecting combat readiness. The Indonesian and Singaporean head delegates shared the view that in simultaneously dealing with various challenges, militaries of ASEAN countries should find a new direction for cooperation, including organizing joint field training exercises to prepare the militaries for timely responses to challenges that may arise in the future.

The head delegates then reaffirmed their commitment to carry out the cooperation plans in a way suitable in the new situation. Concerning the two-year cooperation plan for 2020-2022 set up at the AMOM-10, the Cambodian head delegate informed the other delegates that the Cambodian Royal Armed Force has prepared for the organization of field events in 2021. Cambodia believed that via the AMOM-10 and upcoming military cooperation forums of ASEAN in the coming time, ASEAN military cooperation will be further enhanced, serving to build a more cohesive and responsive ASEAN.

Addressing the meeting, Lieutenant General Thai Dai Ngoc stressed, “In order to maintain the central role of ASEAN in effectively responding to emerging security challenges, we must enhance cohesion and unity. Epidemics and other security challenges cannot hinder our cooperation. Facing that difficulty, we should further strengthen cooperation to overcome challenges from the outside.”

Over the past time, ASEAN militaries have cooperated actively, shown in the successful organization of exercises within the expert group of ADMM+, young officer exchanges, the ASEAN Army Rifle Meet (AARM), and more.

Vietnam's representative handing over the AMOM chairmanship to Brunei

At the AMOM-10, ASEAN members highly appreciated the efforts of the host Vietnam in holding the meeting amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impeded face-to-face cooperation contents of ASEAN militaries. They also highly valued the success of ASEAN military-defense meetings hosted by Vietnam as the ASEAN Chair in 2020, in which pandemic prevention initiatives as well as defense cooperation activities within ASEAN have been proposed and implemented.

At the AMOM-10, the head delegates agreed on the two-year cooperation plan of ASEAN militaries for 2020-2022, which will be submitted to the ACDFM-17 for approval.

Concluding the meeting, Vietnam handed over the AMOM chairmanship to Brunei.

Translated by Huu Duong