DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 30 Sept) — President Rodrigo Duterte and Vietnam president Tran Dai Quang will establish a six-year action plan that will take effect next year to strengthen the cooperation on security, defense and trade between these ASEAN countries.
In his arrival speech at the F. Bangoy International Airport here early Friday, Duterte said the six-year action plan will improve the bilateral exchanges of Philippines and Vietnam to boost the strategic partnership “in the areas of common interest.”
On the economic front, the president said they agreed to improve the volume and achieve a more balanced trade and investments by enhancing the business environment to make it more conducive for investors of each country.
He added that he met with government and the business leaders from both countries to encourage beneficial investments in the Philippines.
Both leaders discussed how their nations can strengthen the existing maritime cooperation mechanisms to ensure the safety and security of the fishermen of both countries and intensify law enforcement against transnational crime, most especially the illegal drugs operations.
“We recognize that sustained economic growth and development rides on the back of a stable and secure environment. We reaffirm the commitment to maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and over flight, as well as an unimpeded commerce in the region particularly in the South China Sea,” he said.
He said he and the Vietnamese president renewed calls for a peaceful resolution of maritime disputes over the West Philippine Sea while noting that they give “full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, self-restraint in the conduct of activities without resorting to a threat or use of force and accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law under the 1982 UNCLOS.”
Last July 12, the International Law of the Sea in The Hague, the Netherlands upheld the Philippine’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone over China’s historic nine-dash line claim.
“We are nations for peace, we will continue to be so, a succeeding—a peaceful region is what we owe as a legacy to our succeeding generations. We agreed to support each other in other aspects of leadership roles in the 2017 as the chair of ASEAN and APEC, respectively, and to reciprocate the warm hospitability of each of the countries,” Duterte said.
The two leaders also expressed support to each other in their chairmanship of next year’s ASEAN and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summits, respectively.
He said his visit to Vietnam showed his administration’s adherence “to an independent foreign policy which seeks cooperation and collaboration with friendly nation on the basis over sovereign equality, none-interference and the mutual respect to protect our national interest.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)