The agreement was reached during the 14th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) that was virtually held on December 9 with General Ngo Xuan Lich, Minister of National Defence of Vietnam in the chair.
The ministers held that ASEAN has shown the spirit of “cohesiveness” and “responsiveness” in accordance with the ASEAN 2020 theme in the complicated context that COVID-19 and natural disasters, the dangers of terrorism, transnational crimes, maritime security, cyber security and water source security, still linger.
They said following the release of the Joint Statement by the ASEAN Defence Ministers on defence cooperation against disease outbreaks in February 2020, ASEAN Militaries have boosted cooperation for the COVID-19 prevention through information and experience sharing, provision of medical supplies, cooperation in cross-border controlling, developing test kits and vaccine, and the successful organization of the ASEAN Military Medicine‘s virtual situational exercise for COVID-19 prevention.
They affirmed that with the innate strength of each nation and the close coordination among members, ASEAN member states have actively conducted effective cooperation, with the determination of not letting the pandemic affect ASEAN defence cooperation, thus enhancing mutual trust and understanding, making contributions to preserving regional peace and stability and maintaining cooperation efforts and the centrality in the ASEAN-led mechanisms.
The ministers are set to adopt a number of initiatives aimed at boost ASEAN defence cooperation, including the ADMM Three-year Work Program for 2020-2022, and the Joint Declaration of the ASEAN Defence Ministers on Defence Cooperation for a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN.
They will also examine preparations for the 7th ADMM Plus (ADMM+) to be virtually held on December 10.