Speaking at the event, Sen. Lt. Gen. Vinh stressed that all ASEAN defense cooperation activities in 2020 were organized successfully even though representatives of member countries did not meet in person. He said that the defense cooperation has contributed significantly to COVID-19 prevention and control, particularly since the “Joint Statement of the ASEAN Defense Ministers on Defense Cooperation against Disease Outbreaks” was issued at the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Retreat (ADMM Retreat) in February 2020 and the online table-top exercise (TTX) on COVID-19 response among ASEAN member states’ military medical forces was conducted.

Delegates at the meeting

He also announced that the 14th ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting (ADMM-14), the 7th ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus), and relevant meetings will be held online before the end of the year.

Even though they will not meet in person, he believes that all ASEAN member states will continue to maintain solidarity, unity, and responsibility to fulfil the 2020 defense cooperation targets.

At the meeting, ASEAN Deputy General Secretary Hoang Anh Tuan and other delegates highly valued the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense’s efforts in holding the online ADSOM amid the complicated developments of COVID-19 pandemic. Tuan said that under Vietnam’s lead as ASEAN Chair, the bloc posted a host of achievements amid the COVID-19 outbreak, including important contributions to defense cooperation. He affirmed that the ASEAN Secretariat will continue supporting Vietnam’s Defense Ministry in fulfilling its tasks this year as ADMM and ADMM Plus Chair.

In addition, participants were briefed on the results of the ASEAN Defense Senior Officials’ Meeting Working Group (ADSOM WG), the 13th annual meeting and the 5th Retreat of the Track II Network of ASEAN Defense and Security Institutions (NADI), and the 17th ASEAN Chiefs of Defense Forces' Meeting (ACDFM-17).

They also exchanged views regarding documents on new concepts and the standard operations of ADMM, a three-year operational plan for ADMM during 2020-2022, and draft declarations of the 14th ADMM and the 7th ADMM Plus, as well as preparations for the two meetings.

Concluding the event, Gen. Vinh thanked delegates for their active contributions tothe ADSOM, and affirmed that the meeting has completed successfully and become an important preparatory step for the upcoming defense and military cooperation activities.

Translated by Trung Thanh