On May 6, Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan hosted an official reception ceremony for the Vietnamese Defense Minister and his entourage in Ottawa, Canada.

At the bilateral talks held later, the host warmly welcomed the visiting delegation, and highly appreciated the first ever visit of a Vietnamese Defense Minister to the country since the two countries established domestic relations in 1973.

Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich and Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan reviews Canadian Guard of Honor

For his part, General Lich thanked the host for the solemn reception and hoped that his visit would contribute positively to the Vietnam-Canada comprehensive partnership.

During the meeting, the two defense ministers exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual concern.

The guest stressed Canada is connected to three oceans, including the Pacific, so it has interests in the region. The country will promote cooperation with regional countries to contribute to peace, stability and development in the Pacific, he affirmed.

Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich and Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan at the meeting

Regarding maritime disputes between countries, including the one in the East Sea (South China Sea), the two sides shared the same view that any maritime disputes must be solved by peaceful means on the basis of international law, particularly the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the South China Sea or East Sea. Both sides also hoped ASEAN and China would soon finalize the negotiation process and sign a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), facilitating peace, stability and cooperation in the region.

Reviewing the bilateral defense ties, the two defense ministers expressed delight at positive results in the past time, particularly in the cooperation fields of personnel training and sharing of experience in UN peacekeeping operations.

Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich and Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan sign a MoU on defense cooperation

The Vietnamese Defense Minister took the chance to thank the Canadian Defense Ministry for granting scholarships to Vietnamese military officers within the framework of the Military Training Cooperation Program (MTCP) in the past time.

Regarding orientations for the bilateral defense relations, the two defense ministers agreed to boost bilateral dialogues and consultations, and cooperation in personnel training, participation in UN peacekeeping operations, defense industry, cyber security, disaster relief and rescue, and maritime security.

General Lich affirmed that Vietnam always welcomes Canadian naval ships to Vietnam for friendly visits, joint search and rescue drills with local naval units, and practices of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES).

The two sides also agreed to expand cooperation in law enforcement at sea between the Vietnam Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard.

General Lich suggested that the Canadian Defense Ministry recommend the Canadian Government to render support to Vietnam in overcoming war legacies, particularly cooperation in clearing unexploded ordnances left by the wars and detoxifying dioxin-contaminated soil, in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese Defense Minister also highly valued Canada’s position and role in the region and world as well as its foreign policy with a focus on ASEAN. As Vietnam will become the Chair of the regional bloc in 2020 and host several regional security and defense meetings, including the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting plus (ADMM+), General Lich hoped that Canada would back Vietnam to successfully fulfill its role as the host country of the regional meetings, and that Canada would contribute more to regional peace, stability, cooperation and development. In return, General Lich affirmed that Vietnam will always support Canada’s engagement in ASEAN and regional mechanisms.

At the end of the talks, the two defense ministers signed a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation between Vietnam’s Defense Ministry and Canada’s Defense Ministry and Canadian Armed Forces, which has provided a firm legal basis for the two sides to tap all potentials for defense cooperation of the two countries.

Reported by Thu Trang from Ottawa, Canada

Translated by Thu Nguyen