Vietnam is set to host the 17th ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces’ Meeting (ACDFM-17) virtually today. Current ASEAN chair Vietnam
Vietnam is set to host the 17th ASEAN Chiefs of Defence Forces’ Meeting (ACDFM-17) virtually today.
Current ASEAN chair Vietnam has played a pivotal role in creating the ASEAN Military Operations Meeting (AMOM), one of the key cooperation mechanisms emerging from the ACDFM, in an effort to integrate the Southeast Asian security architecture. The ACDFM and AMOM in particular serve as fora to air standpoints on common regional concerns such as piracy, cyber-security and terrorism. ACDFM-17 is expected to review the operational capacities of the ASEAN militaries and moot a 2020-2022 action plan for security cooperation.
Vietnam has been lauded by ASEAN for its effectiveness in organising multiple defence-military collaborations and stewarding the regional pandemic response. This could help marshal support for Vietnam’s generally more assertive stance against China’s militarisation of the South China Sea. ASEAN members—traditionally wary of involving third parties—have become more amenable to involving buffers like the US to counter Chinese encroachment, as exemplified by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s participation in the ASEAN Regional Forum this month. If ASEAN closes ranks, China’s harassment tactics against claimants’ vessels may prove untenable in the long-term. While diplomatic pressure from Vietnam has been ineffective, a fortified military arrangement within ASEAN may give China some pause.
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