An ABS also allows a partner nation to contribute to operations and missions under the EU`s Common Security and Defence Policy, a strategy for coordinating the Bloc`s defence and intelligence policies. From a strategic point of view, the agreement is another concrete example for the EU of its growing role as a security actor in the region. The agreement gives the EU its first PA partner in Southeast Asia and its fourth in the Asia-Pacific region (after Australia, New Zealand and South Korea). For Vietnam, it reaffirms Hanois` approach to strengthening relations with a number of major powers, including the EU, despite the challenges that continue to face EU-Vietnam relations on issues such as human rights. Nevertheless, the signing of the AAA deserves attention, both in terms of EU-Vietnam relations and for the region as a whole. And this will remain the case, as both sides strive to extend their defence relations for the rest of 2019 and until 2020 in the midst of a number of other priorities, be it Vietnam`s busy year, as it holds both an ASEAN presidency and a non-permanent seat of the UNITED Nations, or broader hotbeds of crisis, such as tensions between the United States and China, which employ civil servants in Hanoi and Brussels. The measures were announced following a meeting between Mogherini and Vietnamese Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich, officially described by the EU as a “partnership for defence and security cooperation”. Under this banner, most headlines reported on the conclusion of negotiations for a Framework Participation Agreement (AAA) that would facilitate greater Vietnamese participation in crisis operations. Of course, this agreement is of great importance in itself.
It gives the EU its first partner of its kind in South-East Asia, setting a new concrete example of how it is trying to realise the potential for defence cooperation in the sub-region. On a more practical level, an JPA agreement opens the door to the operationalisation of security cooperation between the EU and Vietnam in areas such as peacekeeping and conflict management. “The key to a significant increase in European and Spanish investment,” the minister told Ho Chi Minh-Stadt, “will be the ratification of the investment protection agreement, as it creates a mechanism for resolving disputes with public authorities or state-owned enterprises that is fast, impartial, transparent and mandatory.” . . .