Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh (second from right) at the Meeting of EU Chiefs of Defense (Photo: Vietnam+)

At the dialogue, the two sides highly valued the positive outcomes of the bilateral defense cooperation in recent years, saying that it was the first time the EU had established a bilateral defense-security dialogue mechanism with Vietnam, and that this would contribute to promoting the mutual understanding and practical and effective defense-security cooperation between Vietnam and the EU in the coming time.

The two sides reviewed regional and global situations and issues of common concern, discussed approaches to expanding their cooperation and efficiently realizing the agreement on the establishment of the Framework Participation Agreement (FPA) for Vietnam’s participation in EU crisis management activities signed by the EU and Vietnam in October 2019. They also talked about Vietnam’s prospects for engagement in the EU’s crisis management operations in accordance with Vietnam’s capacity and needs.

General Vinh suggested Vietnam and the EU continue exchanging experience in different fields.

The Vietnamese senior officer also spoke highly of the EU’s sending instructors to support the Training Center under the Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations and invited the EU and its member states to send delegates to the meeting “Women’s role in UN peacekeeping operations” to be jointly organized by the UN and Vietnam as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

The EU side re-affirmed their viewpoint of supporting freedom, security, and safety of aviation and navigation in the East Sea (South China Sea). They also appreciated Vietnam’s role in maintaining peace and stability in the region and the world.

Addressing the Meeting of the EU Chiefs of Defense, General Vinh expressed Vietnam’s interest in the EU’s training missions in African countries and confirmed that as an EU’s responsible partner, Vietnam would like to boost cooperation with the EU on the basis of the Vietnam-EU comprehensive partnership and cooperation, especially after Vietnam and the EU have signed the FPA.

As part of the meeting, the Vietnamese representative and defense chiefs of the 28 EU member states discussed issues related to the EU’s three training missions in Mali, Somalia, and the Central African Republic. Their discussions focused on the impacts of climate change on training missions, the role of women in training missions, and measures to improve the efficiency of operations.

Organized biannually, the Meeting of the EU Chiefs of Defense, hosted by the EU Military Committee with the participation of the defense chiefs from the 28 EU member states, consists of sessions on defense-security situations and crisis management of the EU and its partners.

Since the signing of the FPA this October, Vietnam has participated for the first time in the meeting as an EU partner.

On the sidelines of this meeting, General Vinh had separate meetings with General Claudio Graziano, Chairman of the EU Military Committee; General Nicholas Carter, UK Chief of Defense; French Chief of Defense; military representatives of Germany and the Republic of Korea; and Pedro Serrano, Deputy Secretary General at the European External Action Service (EEAS). During the meetings, they discussed practical measures to expand bilateral defense cooperation in the time to come.

Also in Belgium, General Vinh attended and delivered a keynote speech at the workshop “Boosting defense cooperation between Vietnam and the EU” jointly organized by the EEAS, the Vietnamese Embassy in Belgium and Luxembourg, the Vietnamese Delegation in the EU, and the European Institute for Asia Studies with the participation of invited guests from ASEAN embassies in the EU, EU agencies, and scholars from research institutes in Europe.

Reported by Kien Hiep and Minh Quan from Brussels, Belgium

Translated by Mai Huong