The event was attended by Vietnamese Minister of National Defense General Ngo Xuan Lich,  and heads of ADSOM+ of other ASEAN member nations, representatives from the group’s eight partner countries, including Russia, China, the U.S., Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India, and Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN Hoang Anh Tuan.

General Ngo Xuan Lich attends the meeting.

In his opening remarks, General Lich stressed that the presence of the attendees at the event showed their strong cooperation and support for Vietnam as ASEAN Chair 2020 and mechanisms in which ASEAN plays a central role.

General Lich said that the COVID-19 pandemic has been developing complicatedly and become a major non-traditional security challenge that negatively affects all social aspects of the world. Therefore, no single country can handle it by itself so all countries need to join hands in this tough struggle. General Lich emphasized the need to promote the role of multilateral cooperation institutions and mechanisms in addressing the problem.

In sharing difficulties facing ASEAN member states due to COVID-19, General Lich hoped that with their cooperative efforts, the bloc’s member states will soon overcome this difficult time and bring life back to normal.

According to the Vietnamese Minister of National Defense, in the spirit of “Cohesive and Responsive” in ASEAN Year 2020, ASEAN and its partners have carried out various effective online activities.

General Lich applauded the great efforts of ASEAN member countries’ military medical forces in successfully organizing an online drill on COVID-19 prevention and control, considering it a practical activity to realize the results of the ASEAN Special Summit on COVID-19 and the joint statement of the ASEAN Defense Ministers on defense cooperation in response to the disease.

General Lich pointed out that the video conference of ADSOM+ will give a general view on defense and security to consolidate trust among ASEAN member countries and its partners, bringing them closer and boosting their responsive cooperation in addressing common challenges.

General Lich confirmed that in Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2020, the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense has attached special importance to and gives priority to maintaining cooperation within ADMM+.

Sr. Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh speaks at the event.

In his speech, General Vinh expressed his belief that with the individual and joint efforts of ASEAN member states and partners, the COVID-19 will soon be controlled.

Vinh also informed ASEAN partner countries of the joint statement from the ASEAN Defense Ministers on defense cooperation in response to the disease, which was approved at the ADMM Retreat in February 2020. The joint statement, as Vinh said, has created a foundation for promoting practical defense cooperation activities among ASEAN member states, including an online medical military drill and an online conference for biologists, chemists, and radiologists.

General Vinh emphasized that on the basis of these cooperative activities, the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense wishes to hold similar activities with ASEAN’s partner countries.

At the meeting, participants spoke highly of the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense’s efforts to maintain cooperation within ADMM+ amid the pandemic. They emphasized the importance of defense cooperation and the need to boost international coordination and cooperation to cope with the disease.

They also voiced their concern over the recent unilateral actions that have affected security and stability in the region.

They applauded the Chairman’s Statement of the 36th ASEAN Summit, in which ASEAN leaders affirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety, and freedom of navigation in and over the East Sea (South China Sea) and underscored the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the early conclusion of an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the East Sea, in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Translated by Chung Anh