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Filipino President in Vietnam

Released at: 14:42, 29/09/2016

Filipino President in Vietnam

Photo: Reuters

East Sea and the drug war high on agenda during two-day visit on September 28 and 29.

by Duy Anh

President of the Philippines, Mr. Rodrigo Duterte, arrived in Vietnam on September 28 for a two-day visit, where he will discuss the East Sea issue and cooperation in the fight against the illegal drug trade.

The visit will see the two countries exchange views to strengthen the strategic partnership in the future, especially regarding politics, security, national defense, economics, and trade, according to an official statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

Maritime cooperation continues to be a crucial part of bilateral relations. In his departure speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City, President Duterte said he would identify areas of partnership with Vietnam, particularly in maritime security and law enforcement.

In particular he will seek ways to advance collaboration in the campaign against the illegal drug trade, consistent with the goal of realizing an ASEAN Drug-Free Community. “We will work with Vietnam and the rest of ASEAN in suppressing the proliferation of illegal drugs for us to secure a better future for our generation and the generations to come,” President Duterte said.

After arriving in Hanoi at 5pm on September 28 he then met members of the 3,800-strong Filipino community at the Intercontinental Hotel.

He was officially welcomed at the Presidential Palace on the morning on September 29 and met with State President Tran Dai Quang. President Duterte also took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Monument of the National Heroes and Martyrs.

In the afternoon he  paid a courtesy call on Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and met Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. He will return to Manila late on September 29.

The two countries have to contend with China, which claims virtually the entire East Sea. 

At the ASEAN Summit in Laos in early September  Prime Minister Phuc and President Duterte agreed that “there must be freedom of navigation” in the area.

During his visit President Duterte said that the Philippines and Vietnam, both maritime nations, have common strategic interests. “I look forward to exchanging views and exploring opportunities to further improve our bilateral economic cooperation, including stronger partnerships in economics, agriculture, defense and maritime cooperation,” he said.

The two countries mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations as they prepare to take leadership roles in the region in 2017, with the Philippines becoming Chairman of ASEAN and Vietnam Chairman of the APEC forum.

Economic cooperation has developed strongly, with two-way trade reaching nearly $3 billion in 2015 and more than $1.7 billion in the first seven months of this year. In April the two countries organized the second Deputy Ministerial defense policy dialogue.

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