By Huang Shuo and Wang Di
HANOI, Feb. 20 --The ASEAN defense ministers' informal meeting was held in Hanoi on February 19，2020. The defense ministers of the participating countries issued a joint statement, which spoke highly of China's efforts to combat the novel coronavirus(COVID-19) epidemic, and emphasized the need for ASEAN countries to strengthen cooperation in response to the epidemic.
The joint statement expressed serious concerns over the COVID-19 outbreaks, spoke highly of China's efforts to combat the epidemic, and expressed condolences to the affected countries, regions and people.
The statement said that ASEAN countries should work together to actively respond to the outbreaks and promised to strengthen defense cooperation in areas including military medicine and information sharing.
Vietnamese Minister of National Defence General Ngô Xuân Lịch addressed at the meeting that the meeting laid the foundation for ASEAN countries to conduct practical cooperation in military medicine, humanitarian assistance and other fields. Vietnam has called on all parties to strengthen cooperation in order to enhance ASEAN countries' capability to respond in military medicine and other areas.
ASEAN Secretary-General Lim Jock Hoi attended the meeting on that day.
A special meeting on the COVID-19 between China and ASEAN foreign ministers will be held in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos on February 20.