Việt Nam calls for cooperation in maritime incident settlement

March 8, 2019 – Sen. Lt. Gen. Phan Văn Giang, Chief of the General Staff of the Việt Nam People’s Army, has urged law enforcement forces and navies of ASEAN countries to enhance co-operation at sea.

Giang, who is also Deputy Minister of National Defence of Việt Nam, made the call in his speech at the 16th ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces’ Meeting (ACDFM-16) in Pattaya, Thailand, yesterday.

He lauded the meeting’s theme of sustainable security, saying it reflects the wish to strengthen co-operation among ASEAN militaries and all member countries’ commitment to addressing existing security issues in the region.

The officer voiced concerns about the complicated development of non-traditional security threats, including terrorism, extreme violence, racial and religious conflicts, cyber security, transnational crimes and climate change. He stressed these issues are challenges to global and regional security that are beyond the settlement capacity of a single country.

The Deputy Defence Minister went on to say that despite progress, 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.

Giang also asked law enforcement forces and navies of concerned parties to strengthen ties and information exchange to resolve incidents at sea, especially those relating to fishermen, in a swift and effective manner and in a humanitarian spirit.

At the ACDFM-16, a joint statement was issued and a ceremony held for host Thailand to hand over the flag of the ACDFM Chair to Việt Nam, 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.