He made the call at the ASEAN Defence Minister’s Meeting (ADMM) Retreat in Vientiane, Laos, on November 16, noting that ensuring security, safety and freedom of navigation in the East Sea is one of the problems that need the bloc’s attention.
The minister said the region still witnesses complex developments which have jeopardised peace and stability and worried the international community.
ASEAN and ADMM leaders have, for many times, emphasised the necessity for maintaining regional peace and stability, and that all disputes must be resolved through peaceful means based on international law.
Lich shared other ASEAN defence ministers’ assessment that dialogue and cooperation for peace, stability and development are still the main trend in relations among countries, which is a result of ASEAN’s spirit of solidarity and unity as well as its principle of consensus.
He said more and more countries have expressed the wish to participate in the ADMM Plus (ADMM+), which proves this mechanism’s attractiveness.
Cooperation within ADMM+ will be more effective if the ASEAN member nations and the bloc’s partners respect and fully adhere to the ASEAN Charter, especially regulations on ASEAN dialogue partners.
Among those regulations, some must be absolutely ensured, he said, noting the unity, unanimity and responsible actions of both ASEAN and dialogue partners in keeping peace, stability and security in the region. Partner countries need to respect each ASEAN nation’s specific features. They must also respect ASEAN countries’ independence and the bloc’s central role, while contributing to the unity and solidarity of the association.
Speaking at the event, Chansamone Chanyalath, Defence Minister of Laos, which holds the ASEAN Chair in 2016, said cooperation within the framework of ADMM has continually developed and brought about many important outcomes.
However, the region is still facing traditional and non-traditional security challenges that no single country can deal with on its own. Therefore, the ASEAN defence ministers should timely exchange viewpoints so as to find out appropriate solutions to emerging security challenges, he added.
Echoing this view, other defence officials affirmed that ASEAN’s unity and central role in regional cooperation mechanisms are vital for the grouping’s development.
After the ADMM Retreat, the ASEAN defence ministers were introduced to equipment used for phase I of a direct hotline within ADMM. They also witnessed the handing over of the ADMM Chair from Laos to the Philippines.
The same day, an informal meeting between defence ministers of ASEAN and Japan took place in Vientiane, during which ASEAN defence ministers appreciated Japan’s support to the ten-member group and noted their wish that through cooperation, Japan will contribute more to enhancing peace, stability and security in the region.
Addressing the meeting, Minister Ngo Xuan Lich stressed the importance of support and contributions by partners to the development of the ASEAN Community.
“We hope that Japan, with its capacity and strength, will give more assistance to the ASEAN Community, particularly through maintaining the ASEAN’s central role in the regional evolving architecture, narrowing the development gap within ASEAN and raise ASEAN member countries’ capacity to cope with security challenges,” he said.
Stressing Japan’s backing of ASEAN’s central role, Japanese Defence Minister Tomomi Inada said Japan wishes to enhance the pragmatic and effective defence cooperation with the group, focusing on humanitarian aid, natural disaster relief, search operations and maritime security, for the sake of regional peace and stability.
Also on November 16, Lao Party General Secretary and President BounnhangVolachith welcomed heads of the delegations to the ADMM Retreat, during which he spoke highly of the delegations’ contributions to the event.
He called on ASEAN to promote its solidarity, unity and consensus in order to cope with emerging security challenges in a timely and effective fashion.
On the occasion of the ADMM Retreat, Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich held a meeting with his Lao counterpart Chansamone Chanyalath.
Lich affirmed Vietnam’s consistent view of attaching importance to strengthening the special solidarity, friendship and comprehensive cooperation with Laos.
The two ministers held that the bilateral defence affiliation has reaped major achievements, contribution to maintaining security and political stability in each nation, and intensifying solidarity between the two countries.
They agreed to boost the defence collaboration in an effective and pragmatic manner in the time ahead, thus bringing interests to each side and contributing to regional peace and stability.-VNA