Joint Statement by the Asean Defence Ministers on Defence Cooperation Against Disease Outbreaks

Joint Statement by the Asean Defence Ministers on Defence Cooperation Against Disease Outbreaks

WE, the Defence Ministers of the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met in Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam on 19 February 2020;

NOTING with grave concern the current outbreak of severe respiratory illness caused by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), which not only affects the well-being of our people but also challenges regional stability, security and development, if not adequately managed;

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

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

NOTING the effective efforts by ASEAN Member States in coping with COVID-19 to protect their citizens in their respective countries;

INSPIRED by the Chairman's Statement on ASEAN collective response to the outbreak of COVID-19 on 15 February 2020;

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

APPLAUDING Vietnam's thorough preparation for ASEAN 2020, including taking preventive measures against COVID-19;

ACKNOWLEDGING the active efforts of the Government of the People's Republic of China in dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak, in which the Chinese Ministry of National Defence plays an important part;

COMMENDING the healthcare workers who are at the frontlines of fighting the outbreak;

ACKNOWLEDGING that regional and international collaboration is 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 a peaceful, safe and stable environment; and emphasise the importance of ASEAN unity and solidarity in the event of a disease outbreak;

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

EXEMPLIFYING the spirit of a Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN Community in times of crisis and

COMMITTING to doing our part, and staying united to overcome the COVID-19 outbreak for the benefit of the people of ASEAN;


  1. ENHANCE military medicine practical cooperation among ASEAN defence establishments, including through the ASEAN Centre for Military Medicine, and with our external partners, bilaterally or multilaterally, to organise information and best practice sharing activities,
  2. LEVERAGE the Network of ASEAN Chemical, Biological and Radiological Defence Experts to enhance professional linkages, and promote scientific cooperation to manage infectious disease outbreaks;
  3. STRENGTHEN cooperation with other relevant sectoral bodies of ASEAN in tackling COVID-19 in the spirit of ASEAN's solidarity.
  4. DO our part for public health and social cohesion by supporting the efforts of our respective national health authorities;
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