by People’s Army Newspaper | September 2, 2019
PANO – Prior to the ASEAN-U.S. Maritime Exercise (AUMX), Colonel Pham Quang Hieu, Deputy Chief of Staff of Naval Region 2 Command and Head of the Vietnamese delegation to join the exercise granted an interview to a reporter of the People’s Army Newspaper.
Reporter: Could you elaborate on the purpose of the Vietnamese Navy’s participation in the AUMX?
Colonel Pham Quang Hieu: Firstly, the Vietnamese Navy’s participation in the event is to realize the Central Military Commission’ policy and Defense Minister’ instructions as well as the Party and State’s guidelines on actively and proactively integrating into the world through exercises to contribute to peace, stability, security and safety in the East Sea (or South China Sea). Secondly, it shows Vietnam’s support to the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-U.S. Strategic Partnership in the 2016-2020 period. The plan was inked by leaders of ASEAN member nations and the U.S. in November 2015 in Malaysia. In addition, the partaking of Vietnam in the event also demonstrates the country’s support for ASEAN member countries in general and the U.S. in particular to host international activities and events for regional peace, security and cooperation.
Finally, during the voyage to the exercise, the Vietnamese naval force will conduct patrol in Southern waters and check weapons and military equipment, so as to gain more experience in training at sea as well as to raise coordination and the combat readiness ability of crewmembers.
The exercise is an opportunity for Vietnamese naval officers to learn from other participating navies and raise their coordination abilities with their peers.
Reporter: Could you name the activities that the Vietnamese team will participate in during the exercise?
Colonel Pham Quang Hieu: AUMX was first proposed by the U.S. Defense Minister at the unofficial Meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ and U.S.’s Defense Ministers in October 2017 in the Philippines and agreed upon during the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting in October 2018 in Singapore. The drill will take place once and will not follow a regular mechanism.
Operating under the theme, “Enhancing Shared Awareness and Interoperability in the Maritime Domain,” the drill includes three activities, including PHOTOEX (moving in formation for aerial photography), visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) and a night voyage.
In the PHOTOEX event under the command of the Filipino Ship, participating teams will encode and decode diagrams and signals by flashlights and move from a line formation to a diamond one for photos.
In the VBSS, Ship 18 of the Vietnam People’s Navy will serve as a guard force for ships of the Philippines, Brunei and the U.S. to perform the content.
In the night voyage content, the Vietnamese ship will move in formation in the regulated area.
Reporter: It is said that the exercise take place only once. As the head of the Vietnamese team, could you tell us about your feeling when having an opportunity to join the event?
Colonel Pham Quang Hieu: This is the first time that Ship 18 has joined a naval external relation activity. It is an honor as well as a responsibility of the crewmembers. Through the event, the officers will have an opportunity to raise their skills and command ability as well as capabilities to coordinate with other navies in performing tasks. These will be valuable experiences for us to apply to training missions in the future.
Reporter: Thank you very much!