Philippines-Vietnam bolster cooperation

Teodoro Locsin Jr.

THE Philippines and Vietnam yesterday signed a five-year Plan of Action on political, security, economic, cultural and other areas of cooperation covering the period 2019-2024.

In a speech, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said the Plan of Action is the product of inter-agency consultations and thorough bilateral negotiations.

“It comprehensively maps out specific commitments we will undertake jointly in the political, security, economic, and cultural spheres, as well as in other various areas,” Locsin said.

“Today was another milestone in our five-year-old Strategic Partnership with Vietnam, as Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and I convened the 9th Meeting of the Philippines-Vietnam Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation and discussed the deepening and broadening of our relations and cooperation,” Locsin said.

The Philippines-Vietnam 9th Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting was concluded yesterday.

For his part, Pham noted “with satisfaction” the Philippines-Vietnam cooperation in other key areas like defense and security, which has continued to strengthen effectively with the regular and effective implementation of important mechanisms such as the defense policy dialogue and the navy consultation.

“We appreciate the good progress in maritime and oceanic affairs cooperation, and also in agriculture, ICT, environment, education, training, culture, sports, tourism, and people-to-people exchange.”

Pham said both sides had in-depth and substantive discussion on regional and international issues of mutual interest, andwe are committed to working together to promote unity and centrality of ASEAN.

On the issue in the disputed areas in the South China Sea, he said “we both underlined the importance of maintaining peace, stability, safety and security of navigation in the South China Sea, peaceful resolution of dispute, and respecting the diplomatic and legal processes, respecting international law, including UNCLOS 1982, full observance of DOC towards early conclusion of an effective and substantive COC.”

Both sides also agreed to further step up their thriving economic cooperation.

Last year, bilateral trade turnover amounted to US$4.72 billion last year, up 18 percent compared to 2017.

“And we agreed to maintain an annual growth of 20 percent of the bilateral trade turnover for the years ahead,” Pham said adding “both our countries are among the fastest growing economies in Asia, and that is conducive to further promoting our trade and investment relations in the years ahead.”