Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Vietnam's Deputy Minister of National Defense, met with the international press on Sunday, the last day of the Shangri-La security conference in Singapore.
Below are several excerpts from the press conference.
United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced yesterday that the US would strengthen its presence in Asia and allocate more ships to Singapore. Does Vietnam welcome this news?
That the US plans to strengthen its presence in Asia or allocate more ships to Singapore is based on its own interests. Vietnam will welcome its presence if it brings peace, stability and development to the region as well as equality and mutual respect among countries.
The Vietnamese government recently announced that it would open Cam Ranh Port to the international community. Does the opening mean that Vietnam will allow military ships from the US, Russia and other countries into its port?
We have made it clear that we will not allow any country to build a military base and or station military ships in the port. Part of the port will be developed into a naval base and another part will become a service-technology-logistics complex for international military and civilian ships. The complex will welcome all ships for repairs and logistical services according to international and Vietnamese law.
The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) took effect in 2002 but we have yet to reach any consensus on a draft document that would outline the implementation of the declaration's articles. Meanwhile, we are trying to develop DOC into the Code of Conduct (COC) so that it is more legally binding. Do you think it is practical at the moment?
ASEAN countries have agreed that the COC is essential. During the latest ASEAN summit, ASEAN leaders concluded that we will negotiate a COC with China as soon as possible.