Joint Statement by ASEAN Defence Ministers on Defence Cooperation Against Disease Outbreaks
Updated : 2/19/2020 2:37:42 PM (GMT+0700)

The Defence Ministers of the Association of Southeast AsianNations (ASEAN) have issued a joint statement on defence cooperation againstdisease outbreaks.

Heads of delegations of ASEAN member countries pose for a group photo - Photo: VNA

The following is the full text of the Joint Statement:

WE, the Defence Ministers of the Member States ofthe Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met in Ha Noi, SocialistRepublic of Viet Nam on 19 February 2020; NOTING with grave concern the currentoutbreak of severe respiratory illness caused by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19),which affects the well-being of our people, the economic development as well asregional security and stability;

RECOGNISING the declaration by the World Health Organization(WHO) on 30 January 2020 that the situation is a “public health emergency ofinternational concern” (PHEIC);

ENHANCING institutional and human capacities and approachesto support the effective implementation of policies, strategies and programmesin preparing and responding to all health-related hazards and emerging threats;

EXTENDING our deepest sympathies to the countries,communities and individuals impacted by the outbreak;

NOTING the effective efforts by ASEAN Member States in copingwith COVID-19 to protect their citizens in their respective countries; shareand value the efforts of the Government of the People’s Republic of China indealing with the COVID-19 outbreak, in which the Chinese Ministry of NationalDefence plays an important part;

REAFFIRMING the Chairman’s Statement on ASEAN collectiveresponse to the outbreak of COVID-19 on 15 February 2020;

ACKNOWLEDGING the work of ASEAN in dealing with COVID-19through the ASEAN Coordinating Council (ACC), including the ongoing measuresbeing undertaken by the ASEAN Health sector;

APPLAUDING Viet Nam’s proactive, thorough and effectivepreparation for ASEAN 2020, including taking preventive measures againstCOVID-19;

COMMENDING the healthcare personnel who are at the frontlinesof fighting the outbreak;

ACKNOWLEDGING that regional and international collaborationis required to deal with the effects of the outbreaks, which are unpredictable;

REAFFIRMING our commitment to promote defence cooperation,including in military medicine cooperation and information sharing to ensure apeaceful, safe and stable environment; and emphasise the importance of ASEANunity and solidarity in response to the disease that may harm the people ofASEAN;

ENCOURAGED by the strong collaboration among ASEAN, includingthe ASEAN Center for Military Medicine, ASEAN Chiefs of Military MedicineConference, ASEAN Military Medicine Conference, and the Network of ASEAN Chemical,Biological and Radiological Defence Experts as well as the cooperation with ourexternal partners within the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus)Experts’ Working Group on Military Medicine;

EXEMPLIFYING the spirit of a Cohesive and Responsive ASEANCommunity in times of crisis and COMMITTING to doing our part, and stayingunited to overcome the COVID-19 outbreak for the benefit of the people ofASEAN;


1. ENHANCE practical cooperation among ASEAN defence establishmentsto organise information and best practice sharing activities, and with ourexternal partners, bilaterally or multilaterally including considering toconduct a tabletop exercise within the framework of the ASEAN Center ofMilitary Medicine, which Viet Nam is ready to host at the earliest opportunityin dealing with COVID-19;

2. LEVERAGE the Network of ASEAN Chemical, Biological andRadiological Defence Experts to enhance professional linkages, and promotescientific cooperation to manage infectious disease outbreaks;

3. ENCOURAGE new initiatives and ways of cooperationcontributing to ASEAN’s overall efforts to counter fake news regarding theCOVID-19 outbreak and ensure our people are well informed of the situation;

4. COOPERATE proactively with other relevant sectoral bodiesof ASEAN in tackling the COVID-19 in the spirit of ASEAN’s solidarity, and withother countries in the region and the world;

5. DO our part for public health and social cohesion bysupporting the efforts of our respective national health authorities as well asutilising ASEAN’s regional health mechanisms for coordination and cooperationin response to this emerging public health threat;

6. REMAIN resolutely committed to doing our part, and stayingunited to overcome the COVID-19 outbreak for the benefit of the people ofASEAN.

Source: VNA

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