An official welcome ceremony for General Ngo Xuan Lich and his entourage took place on November 5 with a traditional greeting ritual of the Maori, the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand.

Right after the ceremony, talks were held between the Vietnamese delegation, led by General Ngo Xuan Lich and the New Zealand delegation, headed by Defense Minister Ron Mark.  Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand Winston Peters attended the event.

At the meeting, the New Zealand Minister of Defense welcomed the official visit to New Zealand of General Ngo Xuan Lich and his entourage. The host confirmed that New Zealand treasures its ties with Vietnam and emphasized the importance of the visit, especially at the time when the two countries are preparing for a strategic partnership in 2019.

General Ngo Xuan Lich presenting a gift to Minister Ron Mark

General Lich thanked Minister Ron Mark and the Ministry of Defense of New Zealand for the solemn reception. He affirmed that Vietnam attaches importance to its comprehensive partnership with New Zealand and hoped that the visit will mark a new milestone in the bilateral defense ties, contributing to developing the two countries’ relationship in an intensive manner.

During the talks, the two defense ministers exchanged views on questions of shared concern, informed each other of each country’s socio-economic development, evaluated and proposed measures to further strengthen the bilateral defense ties.

The two sides held that the bilateral defense cooperation has been implemented effectively in line with the inked agreements, including the Memorandum of Understanding on defense cooperation signed in 2013, while meeting the needs and according with resources of each side.

However, the host and guest noted that the bilateral defense ties still have much room to develop. They agreed to continue boosting exchange of delegations at all levels, actively promoting efficiency of the current dialogue mechanisms while enhancing cooperation in foreign language training, naval experience-sharing, UN peacekeeping activities, as well as coordination in the framework of the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) and other multilateral forums.

They suggested two sides consider expanding defense cooperation in potential realms, especially disaster relief, that both sides are capable and experienced.

On the occasion, General Lich informed the host of Vietnam’s preparation for ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020. He said that the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defense will preside over the ADMM+ and a ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of this mechanism and asked the New Zealand Ministry of Defense to support Vietnam as they did in 2010.

“I do believe that the bilateral defense cooperation will continue seeing new developments in line with the two countries’ interests and for peace, stability, development in the region and the world as a whole,” said General Lich.

The two defense ministers spoke with the same voice that all disputes in the East Sea (South China Sea) must be settled by peaceful means, with respect for international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

General Lich took this chance to invite his New Zealand counterpart to visit Vietnam and the host accepted the invitation with pleasure. The details of the visit will be reported on through diplomatic channels.

During the official visit to New Zealand, General Lich and his entourage visited the Command and Staff Academy, during which they were briefed by Major General John Boswell, Chief of the Army, on the country’s military and defense strategic policy, highlighting the priority to serving the community, the country and participation in international missions.

By Thu Trang from Wellington, New Zealand

Translated by Mai Huong