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PH, Vietnam OK 6-year partnership

HANOI – The Philippines and Vietnam are coming up with a six-year roadmap to boost strategic cooperation on trade and investment, defense, maritime security, and law enforcement, among others.

The agreement for closer economic and security cooperation was reached during the meeting between President Duterte and Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi last Thursday.

Duterte was on a two-day visit to Vietnam from September 28 and 29 to forge stronger strategic partnership with its Asian ally.

In a joint statement, the two leaders agreed “to establish a six-year Action Plan (2017-2022) to guide the implementation of activities in the areas of common interest under this new level of relations.”

In the meeting, the two leaders initially agreed to strengthen existing maritime cooperation mechanisms such as the hotline communication mechanism between coast guard authorities of both countries.

Measures would also be adopted to ensure the safety and security of fishermen from both countries as well as to solve amicably the unexpected incidents at sea.

The two countries would also explore ways “to intensify law enforcement cooperation against transnational crime, including the illicit trade and trafficking of drugs in the region,” the statement read.

Concerned officials have been asked to build on each other’s expertise and experience, specifically through more intelligence exchange activities.

Manila and Hanoi also agreed to hasten negotiations for agreements on extradition, mutual legal assistance in criminal issues, and transfer of sentenced persons to further enhance cooperation in law enforcement.

On defense cooperation, the two nations also agreed “to identify new avenues to deepen and intensify cooperation” in line with the strategic partnership. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)