Defence Minister Gen. Phan Văn Giang addresses the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue. VNA/VNS Photo Lê Dương
SINGAPORE — Defence Minister Gen. Phan Văn Giang affirmed Việt Nam’s standpoint of building and strengthening national defence capacity to safeguard its Fatherland, protect peace and ensure the welfare for its people.
He was speaking while addressing a plenary session of the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday.
While peace, cooperation and development have always been the common aspiration of mankind, strategic competition, conflicts of interests, and disputes over sovereignty and territory between countries would continue to occur, he said.
“Bolstering national defence capability to safeguard the nation is truly an indispensable and objective demand for each and every country,” the minister continued.
He reaffirmed the nature of Việt Nam’s national defence policies that are peaceful and self-defence, proactive, resolute and persistent in preventing and repulsing the risks of war.
Việt Nam’s position is to strengthen its defence capability with its own internal forces, conditions and capabilities, according to the minister. Việt Nam does not plan to join any military alliances, side with one country against another, or give any country permission to set up military bases or use its territory to carry out military activities against other countries. And Việt Nam does not resort to the threat or use of force in international relations.
From Việt Nam’s perspective, strengthening defence capabilities is to enhance the collective strength of the entire military force, the people and the political system. It also encompasses bolstering the overall might derived from politics, resolve, and economic, scientific and technological prospects, rather than relying solely on improving military strength.
Việt Nam advocates strengthening defence capabilities not merely through the purchase, production and modernisation of weapons and equipment, but also through various other aspects. These include bolstering military and defence strength through a synergistic strategy, taking into account the demands and missions entailed in national construction and protection, combat capabilities, and the capacity of the armed forces.
Strengthening defence capacity, without transparency, can easily lead to suspicion and misunderstanding. Without just cause, it might also result in an arms race. Consequently, the strategic trust between countries declines, strategic competition increases, the risk of confrontation persists, traditional security becomes more complicated and the potential for war and conflict becomes unpredictable.
In Việt Nam’s view an arms race will inevitably consume national resources, which should be better spent on fostering socio-economic development, and tackling non-traditional security threats to bring about happiness and prosperity to the people.
Việt Nam is actively engaging in comprehensive and extensive international integration, and striving to reinforce strategic trust with other countries.
He said: “It is our aspiration to expand defence cooperation, improve the capability to defend our nation, and jointly address common security challenges, on the basis of respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and in line with the fundamental principles of international law.”
Regarding the East Sea issue, Giang said, “Việt Nam resolutely and firmly adheres to the principle of settling disputes and disagreements by peaceful means, on the basis of respecting the independence, sovereignty and legitimate interests of countries.
“Việt Nam also advocates complying with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS), commits to strictly upholding the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and looks forward to building an effective and substantive Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) with better legal clarity.” — VNS