Defence minister: No respect for international law makes countries lose faith in each other

Defence Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich stressed that in the context of fierce competition among strong countries, international law must be given overriding priority so that small and medium nations will not have to suffer from the consequences.
November 17, 2019 | 19:46
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At the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Retreat in Bangkok on November 17. Photo: VOV

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should exert more efforts to enhance internal integrity so as to flexibly cope with external challenges and impact, Lich said on November 17.

Attending the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Retreat (ADMM Retreat) in Bangkok on the day, Lich said as the ASEAN Chair 2020, Vietnam affirms its wish to promote internal connectivity, improve the efficiency of ASEAN-led defence cooperation mechanisms, and enhance cooperative ties with dialogue partners.

He laid a stress on several regional challenges, including competition among powers in the region, as well as compliance with international law to maintain regional and global peace and stability.

No respect for international law will make the countries lose faith in each other, and lead to escalating tensions in a more serious case, he said, highlighting that in the context of fierce competition among strong countries, international law must be given overriding priority so that small and medium nations will not have to suffer from the consequences.

Lich cited the recent tensions in the East Sea as a typical example, holding that international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982), must be respected so as to make the East Sea a peaceful and stable water with sustainable development, and all countries must have earnest commitments and responsibility.

At the ADMM Retreat, ASEAN defence ministers exchanged their viewpoints on regional and global security environment, saying ASEAN should boost solidarity, and maintain its central role in the regional cooperation mechanisms to handle with traditional and non-traditional security threats such as terrorism and cyber security.

They had in-depth discussions on maritime security challenges, including the East Sea issue. Besides, they underlined the significance of maintaining peace and stability in the waters to the regional and global security.

As scheduled, defence ministers of the 10 ASEAN member states and eight dialogue partners, namely the US, Russia, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, India, New Zealand, and Australia, will gather at the ADMM Retreat and the 6th ADMM-Plus on the concept of “Sustainable Security” on November 17-18. They will discuss measures to enhance trust and strengthen security cooperation between ASEAN members and dialogue partners in all respects.

Vietnam will take over the role of the ADMM and ADMM Plus Chair from Thailand right after the 6th ADMM Plus concludes on November 18.

Vietnam’s participation at the events, at the invitation of Thai PM and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, showed the country’s active, proactive and responsible engagement in cooperation areas within the ADMM and ADMM Plus and efforts to implement the country’s initiatives in the ASEAN defence cooperation framework./.

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