Defense ministers and representatives of defense ministries of ten ASEAN member states and eight partner countries  of Russia, China, the U.S., Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India and Secretary General of ASEAN Lim Jock Hoi attended the event.

The Vietnamese delegation was led by Defense Minister Senior Lieutenant General Phan Van Giang.

Vietnamese Defense Minister at the event

Determined to reinforce cooperation

In his opening remarks, the Bruneian official expressed his delight at the presence of the delegates, considering it a support for Brunei - ASEAN Chair 2021.

He highly appreciated the support and commitment of partner countries within the framework of the ADMM+ and emphasized that their full engagement in the online meeting demonstrated their determination to continue to promote cooperation despite challenges.

The Bruneian general stressed that the 10th anniversary of the ADMM+ last year was a landmark in ADMM’s relations with eight partner countries. In spite of existing differences, countries have continued to confirm their commitments to sharing a common vision on a stable and prosperous region.

He underlined that this year’s theme “We care, we prepare, we prosper” has created a comprehensive approach for ASEAN members to grasp opportunities to boost close coordination with partner countries and among the bloc.

He hoped that though facing challenges when entering the second development decade, ADMM+ could keep strong dynamic and activeness of their substantive cooperation based on its seven Experts’ Working Groups.

At the meeting, delegates heard a report on the outcomes of the ASEAN Defense Senior Officials’ Meeting Plus (ADSOM+) held in April this year and updates on ASEAN cooperation over the past time. They exchanged views on regional and global security situation, especially traditional and non-traditional security challenges that directly impact the region. They reviewed the results of the cooperation within the ADMM+ as well.

“We are defense leaders for peace”

Addressing the virtual event, the Vietnamese defense minister stressed that though peace, cooperation and development remain the mainstream, there exist certain dangers from both traditional and non-traditional security threats that require joint efforts to effectively control them, especially in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

He highly valued this year’s theme, voiced his support for the initiatives launched by Brunei – current ASEAN Chair and stressed the continuity to accelerate commitments reached during Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship last year, especially those related to post-COVID-19 recovery. The Vietnamese defense minister also emphasized the role of the Vietnam People’s Army in controlling the pandemic.

Regarding maritime security and the East Sea (South China Sea) issues, General Giang emphasized that all involved parties should strictly abide by the principle of addressing disputes by peaceful means on the basis of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982) and soon finalize an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) while exercising utmost restraint and avoiding acts that may increase tensions and complications in any form.

According to the Vietnamese official, the full implementation of the Declaration on Conduct of the Parties on the East Sea (DOC) and UNCLOS 1982 is crucial, and it is necessary to treat fishermen humanely in any situation at sea. “Doing this will affirm that we are defense leaders for peace,” he said.

Noting this year marks the 15th founding anniversary of the ADMM, General Giang emphasized the importance of this mechanism to defense-security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, saying that it is a driving force and plays a central role in boosting cooperation within the ADMM+.

At the event in Hanoi

At the meeting, delegates consented to continuing to organize the ADMM+ annually. They highly appreciated the ADMM and ADMM+ mechanisms which have confirmed their important role to the regional security structure.

General Giang believed that with the spirit of friendship and sincerity through dialogue and substantive cooperation, the cooperation mechanisms will maintain the driving force for peace and stability in the region.

The eighth ADMM+ adopted the Bander Seri Begawan Joint Declaration on promoting an ASEAN ready for a peaceful and prosperous future.

The ADMM+ countries once again affirmed that ASEAN is a driving force in the ADMM+, and ASEAN will work closely with partner countries in the spirit of increasing collective responsibility and ceaselessly exerting efforts to boost mutual trust.

They acknowledged unprecedented security challenges facing the region and the world and impacts of emerging traditional and non-traditional security threats, including COVID-19.

They declared promoting cooperation within the ADMM+.

About response to diseases, ADMM+ countries agreed to enhance contributions from defense agencies to prevent, detect, control, and respond to the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19. They emphasized the importance of utilizing the capabilities of the ADMM+ Experts’ Working Group on military medicine, the ASEAN Military Medical Center, and the Network of ASEAN Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Experts.

In response to maritime security challenges and issues at sea in the region, ADMM+ countries emphasized the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability and prosperity, and navigation and aviation safety and freedom, and the need to enhance mutual trust, exercise self-restraint, avoid acts that further complicate the situation, and pursue measures to resolve disputes in a peaceful and non-coercive manner, in accordance with international law, including UNCLOS 1982.

Translated by Mai Huong