Observance of int’l laws fundamental to security, peace: Defence Minister

Independence, self-reliance, promotion of cooperation and observance of international laws are fundamental to security, peace and development, said Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich at the 17th Asia Security Summit or Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on June 2.

Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich delivers the first remarks at the third plenary session themed “Shaping Asia’s Evolving Security Order” on the second day of the 17th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. (Photo: VNA)

Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich delivers the first remarks at the third plenary session themed “Shaping Asia’s Evolving Security Order” on the second day of the 17th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. (Photo: VNA)

Lich made the statement while delivering the first remarks at the third plenary session themed “Shaping Asia’s Evolving Security Order.” 

Traditional and non-traditional security threats, including territorial disputes and terrorism, are clearly visible, posing real and imminent risks to stability of Asia-Pacific, he noted. 

“The best way for parties involved to settle their disputes is to employ peaceful means and diplomatic dialogues without the use of force, the threat to use force or unilateral actions.”

He suggested that to resolve complex security issues, each nation must decide its own destiny but at the same time, they also need fair-minded support from the international community, particularly major countries, towards the common benefits.

The states must develop mutual trust through consultation, exchange of information, high-level visits, and joint activities between armed forces. Most importantly, each of them must promote policy transparency to demonstrate the goodwill and determination to fulfill their commitments and obligations.

Furthermore, each country should expand and diversify dialogue mechanisms and regional and inter-regional cooperation in politics, defence and security, and economics, he emphasized.

They should study the development of a new mechanism to support involved parties in the settlement of disputes and security issues, especially complicated matters like those in the Korean Peninsula, the East China Sea and the East Sea, with respect for each nation’s sovereignty and international law and on the principle of non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs, the Vietnamese Defence Minister said.

He moved on to highlight ASEAN as a successful model for cooperation and connectivity between small and medium-sized countries in the regional security architecture. ASEAN has played a vital role in shaping the security structure and maintaining peace and stability in Asia-Pacific.

The official reiterated that Vietnam is consistent and supportive of a peaceful resolution of territorial disputes in the East Sea on the basis of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

He underlined the observance of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) alongside the conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) to build strategic trust between ASEAN and China and show determination to develop a regional security order based on international law.

He stressed that Vietnam believes any act violating other nation’s sovereignty or militarization or military reinforcements are inconsistent with international law and run counter to regional commitments. Instead, the involved parties need to demonstrate their responsibility to obtain a maritime order so that the East Sea can truly be a water of peace, cooperation and friendship.

The 17th Shangri-La Dialogue – an important security forum in the Asia – Pacific opened in Singapore on June 1, gathering over 500 senior defence officials and scholars from more than 50 countries and territories.

The Vietnamese delegation to the event is led by Defence Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich and Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army Senior Lieutenant General Pham Ngoc Minh. 

The agenda includes five plenary sessions on US leadership and the challenges of Indo-Pacific security, De-escalating the crisis in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Shaping Asia’s evolving security order, New dimensions of terrorism and counter-terrorism and Rising the bar for regional security co-operation. 

The event also features several sessions covering such issues as new strategic technologies and the future of conflict, maritime security enhancement, strategic implications of military capability development in the Asia-Pacific and the management of competition in regional security cooperation. 

Convened by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Shangri-La Dialogue is the most important regular gathering of defence professionals in Asia-Pacific, a vital annual fixture in the diaries of ministers and their civilian and military chiefs of staff.

Since its launch in 2002, the dialogue has built confidence and fostered security ties by facilitating easy communication among the region’s most important defence and security policymakers.

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