On March 28, an official welcoming ceremony was held for the Vietnamese Defense Minister and the delegation with 19 series of cannon shots at the RoK Defense Ministry’s headquarters. After the reception, the two defense ministers held talks.

Defense Minister Phan Van Giang and his Korean counterpart Lee Jong-sup

The RoK defense minister warmly welcomed his Vietnamese counterpart and military delegation, while highly appreciating the sound relations between the two countries over the past time, especially the increasingly intensive and effective defense relations.

Gen. Giang thanked the host for his warm reception, expressing his pleasure to pay an official visit to the RoK as the two countries have just upgraded their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership. He hoped that the visit would help concretize the two countries' partnership in defense, actively contributing to the bilateral relationship.

At the talks, the two ministers discussed regional issues of mutual concern. Gen. Giang noted that peace, cooperation and development are still big trends, but facing many challenges. He affirmed that Vietnam is always consistent with the “Four No’s” principle in the National Defense White Paper 2019.

The two defense ministers witness the two navies handing over the document “Terms of Reference for Bilateral Naval Consultations between Vietnam and the RoK.”

Regarding the maritime security issues, Gen. Giang affirmed that challenges in maritime security and safety, sovereignty and territorial disputes in the Asia-Pacific region in general, and in the East Sea (South China Sea internationally) in particular, also threaten peace, security, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world. In this case, all relevant sides should strictly observe international law, such as United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982 (UNCLOS 1982). Regarding issues related to the East Sea, the two ministers agreed that relevant countries need to adhere to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and soon sign Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), in line with international laws. He underscored that Vietnam always promotes the settlement of conflicts and disputes in the East Sea by peaceful means, and by complying and implementing international laws, including UNCLOS 1982.

They both agreed that over the past time, the Vietnam - RoK defense relations have been promoted considerably, with 18 signed agreements. They have promptly maintained cooperation mechanisms, delegation exchange, and deputy ministerial-level defense policy dialogue, among others.

Besides, units and enterprises of the two defense ministries have enhanced cooperation in the field of defense industry. Gen. Giang thanked the RoK Defense Ministry for sending defense industry enterprises to Hanoi to partake in the first Vietnam International Defense Expo 2022, contributing to the success of the event.

Meanwhile, the bilateral cooperation in overcoming war aftermath also saw fruitful outcomes. The two sides coordinated to complete the RoK - Vietnam Mine Action Project in 2017-2021 period launched in Binh Dinh and Quang Binh provinces. They are carrying out the second phase of the project.

On the basis of the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership, and joint vision statement on defense cooperation through 2030, in the coming time, the two sides will foster the bilateral defense cooperation, accelerate delegation exchange at all levels while maintaining on-going cooperation mechanisms.

They agreed to continue to support each other in multilateral forums, especially those led by ASEAN, as well as multilateral activities organized by each side. Vietnam supports the organization of the Informal Meeting of Defense Ministers of ASEAN - RoK on the basis of ASEAN states' consensus, and is willing to send delegations to join the Seoul Defense Dialogue and ASEAN - RoK Deputy Defense Ministers Meeting.

For his part, the RoK defense minister thanked Vietnam for helping promote the ASEAN - RoK strategic partnership.

Concluding the talks, the two ministers witnessed the two navies handing over the document “Terms of Reference for Bilateral Naval Consultations between Vietnam and the RoK,” contributing to further boosting cooperation between the two sides.

On this occasion, General Phan Van Giang invited RoK Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup to visit Vietnam.

Earlier, General Phan Van Giang and the delegation visited the 7th Artillery Brigade of the 7th Army Division under the RoK Army.

Translated by Minh Anh