Vietnam defense minister upholds peace at Asia security summit

By Huyen Le   June 11, 2022 | 05:45 am PT
Vietnam defense minister upholds peace at Asia security summit
Minister of National Defense Phan Van Giang speaks at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, June 11, 2022. Photo by the International Institute for Strategic Studies
Minister of National Defense Phan Van Giang affirmed peace is the legitimate wish, interest, and aspiration of each country while delivering a speech at Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

"While non-traditional security issues are occurring more and more, causing severe consequences, it’s necessary for the international community to join hands in response to traditional security issues that remain complicated and at high risk of affecting some areas," Giang said, as quoted by military-run Quan Doi Nhan Dan (People's Army) newspaper.

In the world of many unpredictable changes, strategic competition, contradictions, conflicts of interest and sovereignty and territorial disputes between countries remain widespread, he said.

Therefore, improving national defense capacity to protect the motherland and peace is an indispensable and objective requirement of each nation, he said.

"Vietnam has experienced decades of wars, so the country understands the devastation and consequences of conflict and violence. Therefore, we advocate building a strong army and defense potential to strengthen its ability to protect our independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interests while fulfilling lofty international obligations," he said.

The Vietnamese military has continued to promote its pivotal role in responding to many non-traditional security challenges.

"Vietnam's national defense policy is peaceful and self-defensive. Vietnam advocated strengthening its defense capabilities with its own internal resources and conditions and neither joining any military alliances, siding with one country against another, giving any other countries permission to set up military bases or use its territory to carry out military activities against other countries nor using force or threatening to use force in international disputes," Giang stressed.

Vietnam is committed to integrating into the world in a wide and comprehensive way as well as strengthening strategic trust building with other countries.

Giang reaffirmed that Vietnam is always consistent in its foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, friendship, cooperation and development of equality and mutual benefit, diversifying and multilateralizing relations and wishes to be a friend, a reliable partner and an active and responsible member in the international community.

"In terms of disputes over sovereignty in the East Sea, we (Vietnam) stick to the principle of settling disputes and disagreements by peaceful means on the basis of respecting the independence, sovereignty and legitimate interests of countries, complying with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), pledging to strictly implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and striving to build a substantive, effective and efficient Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea in line with international law," he said.

The East Sea is internationally known as the South China Sea.

Strengthening defense capacity, if not transparent, will easily lead to suspicion and misunderstanding and if not for a righteous purpose, could lead to an arms race, Giang said.

"The consequences are the decline of strategic trust among countries, the increase of strategic competition, the danger of existing confrontation, complicated traditional security, unpredictable potential conflicts and wars. On the other hand, the arms race will inevitably consume national resources," said Giang.

He emphasized that peace, cooperation and development are the legitimate interests, aspirations, and common future of nations.

"I'm sure that all of us always look forward to a world without the sound of bombs and bullets, hope for a smiling face among every child and wish everyone in the world can live together in happiness and peace," he added.

The three-day Shangri-La Dialogue, which kicked off on Friday after being canceled for two years due to Covid pandemic, is the key security meeting of the Asia-Pacific region.

This year's security forum was attended by 575 delegates from 40 countries.

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