(ADMM-2010) – In an interview after wrapping up his visit to the US and France, Defense Minister Phùng Quang Thanh has reaffirmed that Vietnam is pursuing an external policy on national defense in favor of peace and stability in the region and the world.
Vietnam has established diplomatic relations with about 180 countries throughout the world and defense ties with 60 countries, revealed Minister Thanh. Over 20 countries have opened their defense attaché offices in Hanoi and Vietnamese military attachés have been sent to dozens of countries in return, added the Minister.
“Vietnam considers as its partners for cooperation all those countries which respect independence, sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity of Vietnam as well as cooperate with Vietnam in the principle of equality and non-interference into each other’s internal affairs and for mutual benefits,” reiterated the defense chief when quoting the Communist Party of Vietnam’s external policy of independence, self-reliance, diversification and multilateralization of international relations.
Emphasizing the external relations in the field of national defense as an important part of the VietnameseState’s diplomatic relations, the Minister stated that good defense cooperation will lay the foundation for effective cooperation and development in other fields, such as economics, science, technology, trade, and investment. He noted that Vietnam has been taking initiative in developing defense relations, both bilaterally and multi-laterally, and participating in all activities within ASEAN and in the Asian-Pacific region.
“Vietnam is joining hands with other regional countries to build the ASEAN Community by 2015 with major pillars of politics, security, economics and culture,” Mr. Thanh said.
The Defense Minister also pointed out advantages and challenges of the security situation in Southeast Asia. He analyzed that though having maintained peace, stability, cooperation and development, the region is facing both traditional and non-traditional challenges, especially piracy, smuggling, drug-related crimes, weaponry, human trafficking, natural calamities, and epidemics.
“When these problems are occurring at seas, we need bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation from other countries in the region and other parts of the world,” remarked the Minister.
He underlined that international defense cooperation helps to boost friendship, mutual understanding and assistance in order to maintain peace and stability in Southeast Asia, facilitating development not only in Vietnam but other regional countries.
The defense chief described security at seas as a top priority in the Vietnamese army’s international cooperation policy because “sea waters in the region are frequented by a large number of international ships and disputes among neighboring countries remain. To cope with the problem, we have been cooperating with Chinese, Cambodian and Thai naval forces in conducting joint patrols over sea waters and set up hotlines with these countries. Such a model of cooperation is expected to take shape with Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines soon.”
Vietnam has reached agreement of cooperation with other countries in rescues, natural disaster control and personnel training,” added Minister Thanh.
He concluded that Vietnam is actively engaging in integration and military cooperation, enhancing diplomatic activities in defense with a view to facilitating and promoting cooperation and development in other fields, for peace and comprehensive development, while preventing dangers of instability and conflicts in the region and the world.
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