Defence Minister General Tea Banh yesterday said that natural disasters are potential threats to regional security, noting that Asean should join hands to deal with them.
Gen Banh is in Hanoi to participate in the meeting of Asean Defence Ministers under the theme ‘Cohesive and Responsive’.
He said the Asean region has confronted and suffered from natural disasters which affect the regional security.
“Southeast Asia suffers heavily from frequent natural disasters such as storms, floods, and tsunamis. Climate change, natural disasters, and trans-national crimes have a great impact on the security of countries in the region,” he added.
“Environmental disasters resulted from climate change has impacted on national and regional security. Without warning these disasters can lead to famine and the erosion of food security or large-scale human displacement,” Gen Banh said. “This in turn can create refugee crises which in itself can lead to political instability.”
During the meeting, all Asean Defence Ministers agreed to establish various platforms in order to strengthen the Asean military’s capacity for humanitarian assistance.
“I appreciate the fact that the ADMM and ADMM-Plus have placed special emphasis on strengthening Asean’s capacity for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operation given the fact that more than 70 percent of the world’s natural disasters occurred in the Asia-Pacific,” Gen Banh said.
“It will help our militaries to build understanding, capabilities, and coordination capacity to deal with future disasters,” he said.
Gen Banh said now that the world has been hit by the outbreak of COVID-19, which started in China and has spread to more than twenty countries and multilateral cooperation is needed to tackle it.
“I highly appreciate the work by the ACMM [Asean Centre of Military Medicine]for convening to try to tackle this problem,” he said.
“I am confident we will be able to continue our practical activities, sharing information together with best practices as well as testing our capabilities and resources to effectively curb this outbreak to make our community more resilient in the face of these adverse conditions,” he said.
Gen Banh also urged Asean to continue maintaining peace, stability, and development in the region.
“I hope we will be able to continue to maintain this momentum and keep strengthening this cooperative spirit in order to foster more multilateral security cooperation and continue to deepen our practical cooperation,” he added.