Sen. Lt. Gen. Phan Van Giang, Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army, has called on the law enforcement forces and navies of ASEAN countries to enhance cooperation in settling incidents at sea, especially those related to fishermen.
ASEAN chiefs of defence forces pose for a photo at the 16th meeting in Pattaya, Thailand, on March 7 (Photo: qdnd.vn)
Giang, who is also Deputy Minister of National Defence of Vietnam, made the call in his speech at the 16th ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces’ Meeting (ACDFM-16) in Pattaya, Thailand, on March 7.
He spoke highly of the meeting’s theme of sustainable security, saying that it reflects the wish to strengthen cooperation among ASEAN militaries and all member countries’ commitment to addressing existing security issues in the region.
The officer voiced concerns about the continued complicated development of non-traditional security threats, including terrorism, extreme violence, the risk of racial and religious conflicts, cyber security, trans-national crimes, and climate change. He stressed that those are challenges to global and regional security that are beyond the settlement capacity of a single country.
The Vietnamese Deputy Defence Minister went on to say that despite certain progresses, maritime security challenges such as sovereignty and natural resources disputes, piracy, and armed crimes at sea continue to be threats to maritime security in Southeast Asia.
He expressed support for the draft joint statement of the ACDFM-16 which emphasises the importance of the East Sea and countries’ pledge to maintain navigation and aviation freedom in the waters in compliance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and regional commitments; not use or threaten to use force; avoid causing tensions or complicating the situation; and enhance trust building measures such as implementing the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea and the Guidelines for Air Military Encounters.
Giang also asked law enforcement forces and navies of concerned parties to strengthen cooperation and information exchange to resolve incidents at sea, especially those relating to fishermen, in a swift and effective manner and in a humanitarian spirit, thereby helping to keep peace and stability on seas in the region.
At the ACDFM-16, a joint statement was issued and a ceremony was held for host Thailand to hand over the flag of the ACDFM Chair to Vietnam, which will hold the ASEAN Chair in 2020.
On the sidelines of the event, Sen. Lt. Gen. Giang had bilateral meetings with heads of the military delegations of Thailand and Myanmar.