Vietnamese Minister of Defense Ngo Xuan Lich at the 12th ADMM. Photo: qdnd.vn

He further said that regional security and anti-terrorism are key to ASEAN development, and stressed the necessary of maintaining ASEAN’s consensus, solidarity and central role regarding important issues in the region.

The work requires the fortification of ASEAN-led mechanisms so that they can make effective contributions to ensuring peace, stability, and prosperity in the region, Lich suggested.

The minister affirmed the importance of the East Sea (South China Sea) to peace and development, as well as to safe and free navigation and overflight in the region and in the world, and added that ASEAN should step up cooperation with its partners in the field for mutual benefits.

He welcomed and lauded China’s efforts in its cooperation with the bloc, reflected through the sides’ approval of the draft framework of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) and ongoing COC-text negotiations based on a single draft.

The official underscored Vietnam’s support for peaceful solution of disputes in line with international law and in respect of independence, sovereignty, and interest of the sides involved.

He recommended increased defense ties within ASEAN as well as between the bloc and its bilateral and multilateral partners, particularly in boosting collaboration and liaison mechanisms.

At their meeting, top defense officials of the 10 ASEAN countries agreed to establish a network for responding to new security challenges posed by chemical, biological, and radioactive threats.

They also pledged to push ahead with fighting terrorism on the basis of defense and military cooperation, and coordinating in joint sea and air exercises to minimize unexpected damage and prevent tension escalations. They also reached a consensus towards investing efforts in implementing the “Our Eyes” initiative on sharing intelligence information in the region.

Concluding the 12th ADMM, the ministers issued a joint statement affirming the commitment to keeping peace and stability in the region and fostering cooperation to deal with current security challenges.

The ADMM is the highest defense cooperation and consultation mechanism of ASEAN, aiming to foster mutual trust among member countries through sharing perspectives on defense and security challenges, while improving the transparency and openness among the 10 ASEAN countries.

ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Source: VNA