VN attends eighth ASEAN security conference

Deputy Defence Minister Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh joined senior defence officials from 22 other ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) member countries at the eighth ARF Security Policy Conference in Indonesia, on June 8.

The conference focused discussions on international and regional issues and the coordination between ARF and the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM+) to avoid conflicts in regional efforts and cooperation to ensure food and energy security in ARF member countries.

Addressing the event, Lieut. Gen. Vinh highlighted the diversity, complexity and transnational nature of regional challenges, and ARF’s increasingly important role in enhancing cooperation to cope with new challenges, of which those caused by humans, combined with environmental changes, were expected to bring manacing long-term implications to the region.

Deputy Defence Minister Lieut. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh (Source: VNA
He emphasised the importance of the newly formed ADMM+ structure to realise and formalise issues put forward by ARF, expressing his hopes to see early practical outcomes of this architecture.

Vinh affirmed Vietnam’s stance on the East Sea and the Mekong River of that the nation considered them as extremely important issues that could cause long-term consequence if they were left unresolved, as these challenges affected not only countries connected with the sea or Mekong River, or direct beneficiary countries, but also all countries in the region.

The East Sea issue needed to be settled through multilateral peaceful negotiations and follow the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and work towards the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), as soon as possible.

The Lieut. Gen. voiced Vietnam ’s support for strong and practical proposals made by Indonesian Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro on new progress to be made on COC by the end of this year and the wish made by Cambodian Prime Minister Hunsen that the COC would be signed in 2012 in Cambodia on the 10 th DOC anniversary.

However, he said, while COC had not yet been reached and UNCLOS 1982 had not been fully implemented, all differences and disputes in the issue must be settled through peaceful measures in the absence of unilateral activities, particularly the absolute avoidance of use of violence or other strong measures.

To smoothly implement responses to challenges, all ARF members and beneficiary countries in the Asia-Pacific needed to have stronger and fuller responsibility for security challenges, and ASEAN nations needed to enhance solidarity and unanimity, especially to avoid division and conflict, to ensure ASEAN always becomes the cornerstone of regional security architectures, he said.

China ’s Deputy Chief of General Staff Lieut. Gen. Wei Fenghe, who headed the Chinese delegation, affirmed that China would strictly follow the principles of peace and development that it had pledged to the world community.

China pledged to continue to play its role in maintaining peace and security in the region and supported UNCLOS 1982 and in the settlement of disputes through peaceful measures, but did not agree to bring bilateral issues, like territorial disputes, to multilateral forums, Wei said.

During the conference, the head of the US delegation affirmed his nation’s pledge to further expand cooperation based on the international legal foundation to ensure all countries can freely and completely access sea, air and land routes to ensure free circulation of trade and goods.

The US opposed using forces in handling disputes and called on countries to abide by UNCLOS 1982 and free navigation and parties claiming their sovereignty to strictly follow DOC and advance towards COC, the delegation said.

The US hailed ASEAN and China for conducting meetings of technical groups on the implementation of DOC and towards the building of COC to ensure a binding agreement in enforcing pledges over the East Sea, in order to solve issues of dispute in the region through peaceful means.


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