MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte returned early Friday morning from a two-day fruitful official visit to Vietnam, saying his trip was another step forward in further solidifying the valuable ties between the Philippines and Vietnam.
”In my meeting with President Tran Dai Quang, we committed to ramp up bilateral exchanges to boost our Strategic Partnership,” President Duterte said in his arrival speech at the Davao International Airport at 2a.m. Friday.
President Duterte said he and his Vietnamese counterpart agreed to increase exchanges between two countries’ officials and peoples and to establish a six-year action plan beginning next year for the implementation of activities in the areas of common interest.
”We have also agreed to increase the volume and achieve a more balanced trade and investment. We will enhance the investment environment to make it more conducive for businesses in both countries to flourish,” the President said.
The two leaders also agreed to identify new avenues of defense cooperation and to further strengthen existing maritime cooperation mechanisms.
”We will adopt measures to ensure the safety and security of fishermen from both countries. We will explore ways to intensify law enforcement cooperation against transnational crime, including the illegal drugs trade,” President Duterte said.
”We recognized that sustained economic growth and development rides on the back of a stable and secure environment,” he added.
President Duterte said the Philippines and Vietnam also reaffirmed their commitment to maintain and promote peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight, as well as unimpeded commerce in the region, particularly in the South China Sea.
”We called for a peaceful resolution of disputes including full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, self-restraint in the conduct of activities, without resorting to a threat or use of force, in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law, under the 1982 UNCLOS,” the President said.
”We are nations for peace. We will continue to be so. A peaceful region is what we owe as a legacy to our succeeding generations,” he added.
President Duterte said the Philippines and Vietnam also agreed to support each other in other aspects of leadership roles as the chairs of the 2017 Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) Summit and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), respectively.
He also met with several leaders from both Philippines and Vietnam companies, urging them to invest in the country.
The President’s trip to Vietnam has also demonstrated the Philippines’ adherence to an independent foreign policy “which seeks cooperation and collaboration with friendly nations on the basis of sovereign equality, non-interference, and the mutual respect to protect our national interests.
While in Vietnam, the President also got a chance to meet with the Filipino community, thanking them for their valuable contributions to the social economic development both to their host nation and their mother land.
”I informed them of developments in our country and I assured them – as I have assured you – that I will be faithful to the mandate you have reposed in me as your President,” the President said. Jelly Musico/PNA-northboundasia.com