Enhancing the country’s strategic partnership with Vietnam will be high on the agenda of President Duterte when he embarks on an official visit to Hanoi on September 28 and 29.
The President is expected to push the closer cooperation on maritime security, trade, agriculture and fisheries during his meeting with Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang and other government leaders, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Duterte’s two-day journey to Vietnam is part of his introductory visits to close neighbors in the region, said DFA spokesman Charles Jose. His visit also coincides with the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Vietnam.
“It is expected that the President and the Vietnamese leaders will discuss various areas of bilateral exchanges including maritime cooperation, enhancement of law enforcement and defense cooperation, increasing two-way trade and investments, strengthening of joint cultural activities, as well heightened exchanges in agriculture and fisheries,” Jose said in a Palace press briefing.
“The leaders are also expected to exchange views on regional and international issues. The relations between the two countries have been growing and deepening steadily since formal ties were established on July 12, 1976,” he added.
Jose confirmed that the President is prepared to discuss the South China Sea issue during his visit to Vietnam. The Philippines and Vietnam are among the Asian nations with overlapping claims in the South China Sea.
“If ever this will be discussed, this will be in the context of, of course, emphasizing the need or the importance of maintaining, peace, stability, security in the region,” Jose said.
“And it will be in the context of reaffirming our firm commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes and our adherence to the rule of law,” he added.
In dealing with the maritime conflict, Jose also cited the country’s commitment to continue working with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for the full and effective implementation of the 2005 Declaration of Code of Conduct of parties in the South China Sea for the early conclusion of the legally-binding Code of Conduct.
Jose said the President’s visit to Vietnam will also be “an opportunity to solidify the strategic partnership between the two countries.” (GENALYN KABILING)