Wednesday, April 20, 2022, 08:07 (GMT+7)
Improving operation capacity of Standing Office 81 to meet the requirements and tasks of protecting the Fatherland

After more than 02 years of implementing Decree No. 81/2019/NĐ-CP of the Government on the prevention and control of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the Standing Office of the Viet Nam National Coordinating Agency (Standing Office 81) has successfully completed the task of advising the Ministry of National Defence (MND), Head of Viet Nam National Coordinating Agency (VNNCA) on doing the work of state management and perfecting the legal system on the prevention and control of WMD proliferation, etc. However, that is only the initial result. To meet the requirements and tasks of protecting the Fatherland in the new situation, it is necessary to have synchronous solutions to enhance the operation and response capacity of Standing Office 81 and specialised forces.

As a responsible member of the international community, Viet Nam has always adhered to international treaties and multilateral mechanisms, including those on the prevention and control of the proliferation of WMD. Notably, executing Resolution No. 1540 of the United Nations Security Council, international treaties and multilateral mechanisms on preventing and combating the proliferation of WMD, our Government issued Decree No. 81/2019/NĐ-CP on the prevention and control of WMD. This is the first important and legal basis in this field for proactively preventing and handling acts of proliferating and financing the proliferation of WMD, combining prevention and control of WMD proliferation with economic and social development for the sake of national defence and security. The Chemical Corps (the Corps) with the responsibility of being the Standing Office of the VNNCA for the prevention and control of WMD (Standing Office 81) has actively worked as an advisor for the MND and Head of the VNNCA to formulate and promulgate documents on guiding, implementing Decree No. 81/2019/NĐ-CP and performing state management function of the MND in preventing and controlling the proliferation of WMD. At the same time, attention has been paid to actively consolidating organisational structure, functions, tasks, powers and working relationships of the forces performing the task of preventing and combating the proliferation of WMD, effectively carrying out international cooperation activities to increase the capacity of VNNCA and coordinating agencies of ministries, branches and localities with the Export Control and Related Border Security Assistance programme (EXBS)/US Department of State. Additionally, importance has been attached to advising the Government and MND on detecting and responding to chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear threats, such as: floating nuclear power plants (FNPP), handling measures for import of monazite ore containing radioactive substances, Iodine radioisotopes in the East Sea, Havana syndrome and so on. Thereby, the position and prestige of Viet Nam in the international arena have been strengthened. Doing so has also taken advantage of technical - technological, economic and trade cooperation and prevented bad forces from destroying and weakening our national defence and security capacity.

The launch of Standing Office 81’s web portal

In the coming years, peace, cooperation and development will still be the main trends. However, the security and political situation in the world and the region is experiencing rapid and complicated developments with many potential uncertainties. In particular, taking advantage of the achievements of the 4th Industrial Revolution, some major powers, despite international law, continue to promote their research and modernisation of the nuclear arsenal in the direction of increasing accuracy and range while reducing explosive equivalent and developing new generation chemical weapons, etc. Meanwhile, international terrorist organisations continue to find ways to possess and use WMD. The trade, transportation and production of toxic chemicals, radioactive sources contain potential risks of toxic chemicals, radioactive and biological incidents, threatening to security and safety of countries, including Viet Nam. Against this backdrop, the prevention and control of the proliferation of WMD is very urgent, requiring the comprehensive mobilisation of forces and resources, close cooperation between ministries, branches and localities, and the involvement of the whole political system. As the standing office (Standing Office 81), the Corps continues to thoroughly grasp and focus on executing a number of solutions as follows:

First, study and accurately forecast the situation of proliferating and financing the proliferation of WMD, advise and propose to the MND - VNNCA comprehensive and opportune response and handling measures. Grasping functions and tasks, in the coming time, the Corps will continue to closely cooperate with agencies and units with the function of collecting information both inside and outside the Army in exchanging and sharing relevant information, especially in studying the current situation and trends of research and development of WMD, strategy, organisational structure, and activities of the prevention and control of WMD proliferation of countries in the world. Furthermore, significance needs to be attached to closely cooperating with relevant ministries and branches in grasping the status quo of state management over chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear agents, controlling materials related to WMD and dual-use goods. In parallel with that, the Corps will actively participate in international cooperation mechanisms to receive and share information and experiences on the activities of preventing and controlling the proliferation of WMD. Grounded on that basis, great weight is added to consulting the MND - VNNCA on enhancing the effectiveness of state management over WMD prevention and control and conducting tasks in accordance with the law provisions. It is also necessary to propose measures to improve the propagation effectiveness to raise soldiers and people’s awareness of the prevention and control of WMD for the cause of national construction and defence in the new situation. In addition, consideration is given to gradually improve the legal basis and mechanisms of cooperation and implementation in order to enhance the capacity for preventing and controlling the proliferation of WMD.

Second, review, propose to supplement and perfect the system of legal documents on the prevention and control of WMD proliferation in a synchronous manner, ensuring national interests and accordance with international law. The Corps needs to closely cooperate with functional agencies of the MND, military units, ministries, branches and localities in reviewing and perfecting legal documents for implementing multilateral treaties and mechanisms on the prevention and control of WMD proliferation, focusing on regulations on sanctions, enforcement; cooperate with head agencies in reviewing and evaluating the process of performing tasks; advise and propose the promulgation of a law on the prevention and control of WMD proliferation.

Third, increase the effectiveness of the cooperation with ministries, branches, localities and international cooperation, promote synergy in the performance of this critical task. Preventing and controlling the proliferation of WMD is a difficult and complex task, affecting all areas of social life. Therefore, there should be close cooperation between all levels, sectors, forces and localities in creating a unity of awareness and action. Accordingly, Standing Office 81 will strengthen information exchanges, professional cooperation with specialised agencies of ministries, branches and localities, provide a mechanism for information exchanges among the VNNCA, Standing Office 81 and coordinating agencies. Moreover, great value should be attached to expand international cooperation with the diversity in content, form, partner, scope… in line with the viewpoints and policies of the Party, Central Military Commission, and MND on military diplomacy, national defence, and international cooperation. It is also essential to effectively promote cooperation mechanisms with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Export Control and Related Border Security Programme (EXBS), Initiative to establish a Centre for Advanced Cooperation in the fields of chemistry, biology, radioactivity and nuclear, and mechanisms for regional and international defence policy dialogue in order to share information, exchange experiences, mobilise resources, receive technological and technical transfer in preventing and controlling WMD proliferation. In which, priority is given to the contents of exchanging and sharing experiences in developing legal documents, raising awareness and capacity to recognise and respond to situations of WMD proliferation, creating a favourable environment for the development of the country. By doing so, our position in the international arena will be strengthened, contributing to protecting the Fatherland early and from afar.

Fourth, improve operational capacity of the VNNCA, Standing Office 81, response capacity of the forces in charge of the task of preventing and controlling the proliferation of WMD. In the immediate future, focus is placed on consolidating VNNCA in accordance with reality and recommendations of international organisations, gradually building a contingent of experts of the MND, Standing Office 81, and improving professional expertise for cadres of Center 81 under the Chemical Command, coordinating agencies and specialised forces handling the situations of WMD proliferation. It is targeted that by 2024, the Standing Office 81’s cadres will have high professional levels, achieve level 4 or higher foreign language proficiency and be able to work in international environment; 100% of the standing offices of coordinating agencies and 100% of the response forces will be capable of advising and tackling situations of WMD proliferation. In terms of equipment potential, it is necessary to research and supplement equipment for reconnaissance, detection and analysis of chemistry, biology, radioactivity with high sensitivity in the existing equipment purchasing projects of the Corps. Besides, it is required to advise the MND on the approval and implementation of the project on increasing the ability to detect and handle common situations for border control forces on land, at sea and ministries, branches and localities. Finally, it should be ensured that the relevant forces are fully equipped to detect and respond to the situations of WMD proliferation to meet the requirements and tasks of protecting the Fatherland in the new situation.

Maj. Gen. HA VAN CU, Commander of the Corps, Permanent Deputy of Viet Nam National Coordinating Agency for prevention and control of WMD

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