Viet Nam News
MANILA — Việt Nam and the Philippines have agreed to work together to fight terrorism, cross-border crimes, especially those related to drugs and in search and rescue operations at sea.
The agreement was reached on Wednesday as Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh and Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Lopez Locsin co-chaired the ninth meeting of the Vietnam-Philippines Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation in Manila.
Both Minh and Locsin highlighted the intensive and trustworthy political and diplomatic ties between the two countries, which were reflected by the content and outcomes of visits and meetings at all levels and people-to-people exchanges.
They expressed their delight at the enhanced and more practical co-operation in national defence and security as well as the sharing of information and experience between the armed forces of the two countries, along with regular defence policy talk and naval consultations.
The two agreed to enhance economic co-operation and create optimal conditions for enterprises of the two countries to strengthen investment and business partnerships, aiming to maintain annual two-way trade growth above 20 per cent.
In 2018, bilateral trade stood at US$4.72 billion, up 18 per cent as compared with the previous year, they noted. Việt Nam said it is willing to be a long-term and stable supplier of rice with competitive prices to the Philippines.
Having acknowledged great potential for tourism, the two officials agreed to promote measures to encourage tourists to visit each other’s countries in the future.
They also praised progress in maritime and oceanic collaboration as well as co-operation in agriculture, information-communications, environment, education-training, culture, sports and people-to-people exchanges.
Regarding regional and international issues, Locsin congratulated Việt Nam and commended the country’s preparations for the second summit between the US and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in late February.
The summit helped build trust and promote practical peace talks on the Korean Peninsula, he said, stressing that Việt Nam has proved its role and contributions to regional and international matters.
The two sides also agreed to continue their close coordination at multilateral forums and expressed their resolve to coordinate with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to enhance intra-bloc solidarity and the grouping’s central role in regional security and strategic issues.
Việt Nam highly evaluated and pledged to continue backing the Philippines’ role as a country coordinator of the ASEAN-China relations until 2021 while the Philippines side said it supported Việt Nam’s successful assumption of the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020. The two ministers exchanged in-depth views on and shared their concerns over recent developments in the East Sea.
They emphasised the strategic significance of ensuring peace, security and safety of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, settling disputes peacefully, practicing restraint, not complicating the situation, not militarising, respecting international law and the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS) as well as legal and diplomatic processes, fully implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and soon reaching a practical and effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).
At the end of the session, Minh and Locsin signed the minutes of the meeting and an action programme implementing the Việt Nam-Philippines strategic partnership for 2019-24.
The documents serve as a foundation for the two sides to continue fostering their cooperative strategic partnership in a more practical and effective manner, including activities marking the fifth anniversary of the strategic partnership in 2020 and the 45th founding anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2021.
Later the same day, Minh met with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who emphasised the importance of the Philippines-Việt Nam strategic partnership and praised the outcomes of the ninth meeting of the committee, considering this as a leading mechanism to continuously beef up the bilateral co-operation for the sake of people of both countries.
Minh visited and presented the Vietnamese President’s second-class Labour Order to the Vietnamese Embassy in the Philippines in recognition of its outstanding contributions to national construction and defence. — VNS