Lieutenant General Ngo Minh Tien, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army, led a delegation from the Vietnamese Defense Ministry to attend the event.

The forum was divided into three sessions, namely Regional Security Situations, Vision for the Indo-Pacific: Towards the Free and Open Regional Order, and ASEAN’s Initiatives for Regional Defense Cooperation.

At the event, the participants agreed that the region is facing traditional and non-traditional challenges, especially competitions between power countries, territorial disputes, terrorism, and cyber security.

The above issues are trans-national and no single regional country can resolve them on its own. Thus, it is necessary to expand cooperation within ASEAN and between the bloc and its partners, including Japan, in order to successfully address the common challenges.

Lieutenant General Ngo Minh Tien

Sharing the same views, General Tien stressed the need for multilateral cooperation, particularly cooperative projects within the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting (ADMM) and the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM+). These activities will promote dialogues and information exchange on international and regional issues of mutual concern, making contribution to building up mutual trust and paving the way to further boosting cooperation among militaries of ASSEAN and its partners.

Heads of the participating delegations also emphasized the geographical position of the Indo-Pacific region where a number of major maritime transportation lines runs through. The smooth and safe operation of these routes plays an important role in developing the regional economy. As a result, all countries should heighten responsibility to the community and strictly abide by international law.

Also at the event, ASEAN member countries expressed their support for Japan in expanding defense cooperation with ASEAN on the basis of the Vientiane Vision, which is the first official document to indicate a comprehensive and transparent picture of Japan’s defense cooperation with the entire ASEAN region, especially activities to enhance capabilities for ASEAN members.

Regarding the ASEAN - Japan defense ties, the Vietnamese general highly appreciated the contributions from Japan within the framework of ADMM+ since its establishment in Vietnam in October 2010. He held that, Vietnam, as the coordinator of the ASEAN - Japan relations for the 2018-2021 period, will continue to closely work with relevant parties to effectively roll out cooperation contents between ASEAN and Japan in line with the Vientiane Vision.

Meanwhile, in his remarks, Lieutenant General Onsi Sensuk, Deputy Defense Minister of Laos, stressed on the effective and practical strategic partnership between ASEAN and Japan, including defense relations, especially since the debut of the Vientiane Vision in 2016.

On the occasion of the forum, heads of the participating delegations paid a courtesy call on Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono. At the reception, the Japanese official voiced his delight at the outcomes of the defense cooperation between Japan and ASEAN on the basis of the Vientiane Vision. He hoped that both sides would foster the ties in the coming time.

* On the sidelines of the forum, General Tien met with Japanese Deputy Defense Minister Yasunori Nishida. At the meeting, the two sides highly valued the sound development of bilateral defense cooperation and agreed to boost cooperation in port calls, defense industry, cyber security, overcoming war-left aftermath, and UN peacekeeping operations. The host affirmed that Japan will actively back Vietnam when the country takes ASEAN Chair in 2020.

Translated by Van Hieu