Hanoi, May 13 (Bernama) – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) entered 2020 with a lot of difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic but the initial success in curbing the spread of the disease in the region has proved effective intra-regional cooperation, said Vietnamese Deputy Minister of National Defence Sen. Lieut. Gen Nguyen Chi Vinh.
According to Vietnam News Agency (VNA), Vinh made the statement at the ASEAN Defence Senior Officials’ Meeting Working Group (ADSOM WG)’s video conference in Hanoi on May 12, which aims to promote Vietnam’s initiatives in ASEAN Chairmanship Year 2020 and prepare for the ADSOM’s video conference slated for May 15.
ASEAN countries have made accurate forecasts, prepared themselves and cooperated to deal with the non-traditional challenge which caused the disaster in the region and the world, he said.
In early 2020, Vietnam successfully organised the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Retreat (ADMM Retreat), which issued a joint statement of the ASEAN Defense Ministers on defense cooperation in response to the disease, he added.
Vinh went on to say that during the ADSOM WG’s video conference, the panel discussed how to further promote ASEAN defence cooperation in the context that many countries are still affected by COVID-19 and applying quarantine measures.
When the pandemic is pushed back, the host Vietnam vows to do all it can to complete the ASEAN agendas in 2020 with the best results and highest safety, the Deputy Minister affirmed.
He hoped the pandemic will not hinder or suspend the bloc’s activities. Instead, ASEAN could even do more when utilising effectively information technology such as organising online activities.
Vinh suggested re-evaluating the effectiveness of bilateral and multilateral defence cooperation among ASEAN countries on the prevention and control of COVID-19, as well as the ASEAN agendas 2020 while preparing a new plan for optimal results.
The Deputy Minister strongly recommended discussing the preparation for the ASEAN military medical drills to cope with non-traditional security challenges, including disease prevention and control, VNA reported.
Apart from cooperation within the framework of ASEAN, he proposed expanding the exchange among working group leaders on collaboration under the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM+).
He also called on the bloc to step up efforts to push back and stamp out the COVID-19 pandemic.