PH, Vietnam air forces vow stronger cooperation for security, stability of Indo-Pacific

Senior Colonel Vu Hong Diep (left), deputy chief of staff of Vietnam Air Defense Force, receives foyer honors upon his arrival at the Philippine Air Force (PAF) headquarters at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Nov. 21, 2023. He is welcomed by PAF Chief of Air Staff Maj. Gen. Fabian Pedregosa (right). (Photo by PAF)

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) and Vietnam Air Defense Force (VN ADF) committed to reinforce their bilateral relations on Tuesday, Nov. 21, to ensure a more secure and stable Indo-Pacific region.

This, as Senior Colonel Vu Hong Diep, deputy chief of staff of VN ADF, paid a courtesy visit at the PAF headquarters at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City where he was welcomed by PAF Chief of Air Staff Maj. Gen. Fabian Pedregosa.

"The VN ADAF's visit is in relation to the second hosting of the Philippines and Vietnam Air Force Working Group Meeting, a platform to explore avenues for enhanced cooperation and exchange of defense-related information on topics of mutual interest," PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo said.

"Further, the meeting underscores the commitment of both air forces to foster a strong bond and promote regional security and stability," she added.

Last year, Manila hosted the PAF-VN ADF Working Group meeting where they discussed a variety of topics centered on security cooperation initiatives. 

The Philippines and Vietnam have supported each other's claims in the South China Sea, with the latter backing the 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated China's expansive claims in the hotly contested waters.

PAF chief in Hawaii symposium

Meanwhile, PAF commanding general Lt. Gen. Stephen Parreño attended a symposium which gathered air force chiefs from 22 other countries at the headquarters of the Pacific Air Forces in Hawaii from Nov. 13 to 17.

Castillo said that this year's Pacific Air Chief Symposium (PACS) 2023 marked the largest biannual gathering of air chiefs to date, underscoring the growing significance of collaboration in addressing regional security challenges.

Parreño was even invited as one of the panel members to discuss the complexities of air domain awareness during the symposium. 

The symposium served as a platform for senior air force leaders from the Indo-Pacific, Europe, South America, and North America to engage in strategic discussions and strengthen international partnerships. 

"It focused on fostering interoperability among partner Air Forces and enhancing air domain awareness. The air chiefs exchanged insights on lessons learned from recent security challenges, and explored strategies for strengthening humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities," Castillo said.

After the symposium, Parreño held bilateral and multilateral sessions with military leader counterparts from the United States, Australia, Japan, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, and France. 

"Beyond the formal discussions, the event also featured several social engagements, which provided opportunities for the international partners to forge closer ties and build camaraderie," Castillo noted.