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Vietnam Joins ASEAN-Japan Cybersecurity Drill

The Vietnam Cybersecurity Emergency Response Teams/Coordination Centre (VNCERT/CC) on 24 June took part in the 2021 ASEAN-Japan Drill. The aim of the event was to enhance cooperation between Japan and ten ASEAN countries by addressing trans-national cybersecurity incidents, according to reports.

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the exercise was held in both online and in-person formats. It was connected with 200 locations across the country for IT units of ministries, agencies, provinces, and cities to join the event. This year’s drill focused on coordination in dealing with cyber-attacks targeting state agencies through Virtual Private Network vulnerabilities and preventing ransomware attacks on medical institutions.

Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused impacts on cybersecurity, said Hoang Minh Tien, the Deputy Director of the Information Security Authority, under the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC). Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Health systems that are struggling to fight the pandemic are still subject to these kinds of attacks. He stressed the need for countries and organisations to strengthen protective measures and coordinate in responding to arising incidents, especially to support and protect the health systems.

Earlier this month, Singapore’s Ministry of Defence announced that a new cybersecurity and information centre of ASEAN will be set up in Singapore to facilitate a better exchange of information among defence ministries of member countries to combat cybersecurity threats and misinformation. The establishment of the centre was approved at the 15th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM 15) held virtually on 15 June.

The ministry said the centre will fortify the ASEAN Cyber Defence Network in promoting regional exchanges, interaction, and cooperation in cybersecurity matters. The ADMM 15 adopted a declaration that reaffirmed the regional grouping’s commitment to tackling prevailing and emerging transboundary security threats in the region. It also approved Singapore’s proposal to host an ADMM Plus conference on countering chemical, biological, and radiological threats in 2022. ADMM Plus groups the ten ASEAN members and eight dialogue partners – Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States.

Last week, Singapore and Vietnam agreed to accelerate the setting up of joint working groups to develop bilateral agreements on the digital economy. Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan met with his Vietnamese counterpart Bui Thanh Son and both ministers agreed on mutual recognition of health certificates to facilitate the safe resumption of travel between the two countries.

While affirming the cooperation between Singapore and Vietnam, both bilaterally and at the ASEAN level, the two ministers noted the substantive cooperation across a range of sectors and agreed to expand it to new growth areas such as the digital economy, cybersecurity, clean energy, sustainable development, and smart cities. They also exchanged views on international and regional developments and stressed the importance of ASEAN centrality and unity to promote peace and stability in the region.

The agreement will facilitate continued exchanges between Singapore and Vietnam through the participation of senior CPV officials in study visits and executive education programmes in Singapore on topics such as public administration, urban planning, transport management, and international issues. The agreement builds on earlier ones that were signed in 2010, 2012, and 2016.

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