The workshop was organized in the central province of Khanh Hoa on January 18-19 by the Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry, Australia and the European Union.

Vietnam’s Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung speaking at the workshop. (Photo: toquoc.vn)

The event, the first to realise ARF Foreign Ministers’ Declaration on enhancing maritime law enforcement cooperation issued in Vientiane, Laos, in 2016, drew 80 officials, experts and scholars on maritime security from 22 countries and international organizations.

In his opening remarks, Vietnam’s Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung said that maritime law enforcement cooperation in the region is part of efforts to ensure maritime security and safety, especially at ASEAN-led mechanisms such as ARF, ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus, East Asia Summit, and the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF).

However, there remain several difficulties, including different institutions on law enforcement at sea of countries, and existing maritime and territorial disputes in the region.

The prerequisite for good cooperation is the trust among parties involved which is built on measures put forward at such forums as ARF, Dung affirmed.

With this spirit, participating delegates exchanged views to clarify the maritime security picture in the region.

They agreed that maritime security at sea is a complicated and multi-layered matter. Therefore, maintaining peace, security and stability at sea need cooperation in maritime law enforcement.

They stressed the need to have measures to deter and prevent criminals as well as increasing public awareness of existing challenges, and to intensify coordination between involved agencies, governments and people to protect the marine environment and deal with illegal fishing, and trans-national crimes.

Concluding the workshop, Vietnam, Australia and the EU reached a consensus on maintaining dialogue on maritime law enforcement cooperation and considering the field a priority in the Hanoi Action Plan on the implementation of the ARF Vision during the 2018-2020 tenure.

ARF was established in 1994, aiming to build trust and enhance dialogue in the region with ASEAN being the center. The forum is participated by 27 nations and international organizations.

Source: VNA