Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has called on Việt Nam and the Philippines to tap their potential for trade and investment ties to match their strategic partnership.
He told the visiting Philippines’ President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during their meeting in Hà Nội yesterday that Việt Nam will create the best possible conditions for Filipino investors in the agriculture, food processing, services and tourism sectors.
The leader suggested that the Philippines facilitate Vietnamese investments in infrastructure, oil and gas exploitation, mining and services in the country.
He also urged the two sides to continue their close co-operation in rice trade via the Rice Trade Agreement.
Việt Nam is ready to provide rice to the Philippines in the long term, helping the country ensure food security, the PM noted, proposing that the two countries soon expand the memorandum of understanding on rice trade for the 2017-20 period.
He also suggested enhancing bilateral collaboration in other spheres, such as culture, tourism, transport and fisherman affairs.
“Việt Nam and the Philippines should step up their affiliation across fields in a more pragmatic and effective fashion, particularly in national defence, security, trade, investment, as well as at regional and international forums,” PM Phúc said.
In the realm of politics and diplomacy, the leader stressed the maintenance of all-level delegation exchanges and existing co-operation mechanisms, while increasing people-to-people exchanges.
He called for conducting joint patrols and carrying forward the Joint Committee on Sea and Ocean Co-operation at the deputy foreign ministerial level, and appoint a group of legal experts within the framework of the committee.
“Việt Nam is willing to work with the Philippines in the fight against drugs and other crimes, such as high-tech crimes, cyber crimes, human traffickers and terrorists,” he said, adding that Việt Nam will also partner with the country in maritime security, naval forces, maritime police and rescue operations at sea.
The two sides should promptly sign an agreement on extradition and another on the transfer of prisoners, PM Phúc added.
The host and guest agreed on the need to team up with each other in protecting peace and stability in the East Sea, as well as the interests and rights of each country, in line with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea, opposing the use of violence, and maintaining East Sea peace through non-military means.
PM Phúc also suggested the two sides ratchet up sea and ocean co-operation; continue strengthening ASEAN’s unity, as well as its role in handling the East Sea issue; work more closely in ASEAN through information sharing and co-ordination in stance; and promote regular exchanges between Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia and Việt Nam for forming a key group in the bloc.
To that extent, the countries need to co-ordinate in enhancing ASEAN’s central role in responding to challenges that impact on peace, stability and security in the region, and the relations with other dialogue countries, the Vietnamese leader said.
He said if a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) is finalised in 2017 on the bloc’s 50th founding anniversary, it will be a hallmark and an important step forward for not only ASEAN, but also the Philippines as the ASEAN Chair, contributing to promoting peace and stability in the region.
President Duterte told his host that when he was young, one of his dreams was to visit Việt Nam and that he admired Việt Nam’s victory in the struggle for winning national independence and its renewal and development achievements and saw the country as an example for his country to follow.
He said he highly values what the Vietnamese Government and people have done for the Philippines, especially the supply of rice to the country when it dealt with food shortage, affirming that Việt Nam is a good neighbour and brother of the Philippines.
He further stated that his country would back Việt Nam’s organisation of the APEC 2017 and welcomed PM Phúc’s attendance at ASEAN 2017.
President Duterte expressed hope of signing more trade agreements with Việt Nam, saying it will help the two become strong nations in the region.
The Philippines also wants to boost co-operation with Việt Nam in other domains, including the prevention and combat of crime and is ready to negotiate on the signing of an extradition agreement.
On the East Sea issue, Duterte agreed that the parties involved need to continue working to settle all disputes and disagreement peacefully with respect to international law.
The Philippines protested the use of force in this area and wanted the concerned sides to work to promote mutual understanding, President Duterte stressed.
He went on to say that ASEAN needs to make more efforts to solve the East Sea issue peacefully, suggesting speeding up consultations among the bloc’s member countries on this matter.
A joint statement between Việt Nam and the Philippines was issued yesterday on the President Duterte’s visit to Việt Nam. Full text of the statement can be viewed at www.vietnamnews.vn. — VNS