DUTERTE TRANSCRIPTS: Joint Press Statement. Ph-Thailand. 21 March 2017

(Note from MindaNews: This is the Joint Press Statement of President Rodrigo Duterte and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, released by the Presidential News Desk of the Presidential Communications Office)

Presidential Communications Office
Presidential News Desk

[Delivered at the Thai Government House, Bangkok, Thailand |21 March 2017]

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: Your Excellency, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, senior officials of the Royal Thai Government, members of the press corps, ladies and gentlemen, good evening.

I am glad to make this Official Visit to finally meet the Prime Minister here in Bangkok.

I thank Prime Minister Prayut for his gracious invitation as well as for the excellent arrangements extended to me and my delegation.

The Thai hospitality has been exceptional and I am humbled and very grateful for the reception by the Thai Government.

Today is a new chapter in the shared history between our nations and peoples.

We reaffirmed a long-standing friendship and renewed common commitment to bring our countries and peoples closer in greater cooperation.

I recognized and paid respect to the many contributions of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej for the strong Thailand-Philippine ties. I likewise expressed warm wishes to the reign of His Majesty King Maha [Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun] and we vow our utmost to cooperate with His Royal King.

With formal diplomatic relations for 67 years, we have a proven record of collaboration. We can and should rightlfully strive to achieve more.

As countries facing similar challenges and as brothers in ASEAN, we have a joint stake in keeping our relations always vibrant, always strong and always geared towards upholding the greater and collective interests of our countries and our region.

I am glad that our discussions today were productive and fruitful. The discussions point to a keen interest in moving forward to a future of greater peace, progress and prosperity.

Among other issues, we resolved to use our consultative mechanisms to the fullest. This will ensure that issues of common concerns are addressed and that we continue to build on the commitments that we have made.

We underscored the importance of sustaining the growth and development we have so far achieved. In this regard, we stressed the need to address traditional and emerging threats to our collective security and stability.

These include transnational crimes such as terrorism and violent extremism, piracy at sea, as well as the trafficking in persons, and in illicit drugs.

We vowed to do more, our utmost to strengthen cooperation in bilateral, regional, and international levels to effectively address these scourges and menace to our societies.

We stressed the importance of our defense cooperation to achieve these goals and looked forward to the inaugural Joint Committee on Military Cooperation this year.

Both sides emphasized the need to sustain the economic advancements we have thus far achieved. We agreed on the need to expand and intensify two-way trade and investments, taking full advantage of the complementarities and synergies of our interest.

Economic reforms are being instituted in the Philippines. With our emphasis on combatting corruption, eradicating criminality, and dismantling the illegal drug trade apparatus, we are hopeful of more investments coming from Thailand.

The Philippines and Thailand have vibrant economic relations, with a trade value of over 9 billion [dollars] in 2016. We have yet to reach the limits of our potential.

Both sides also recognized the importance of cooperation in agriculture. There have been significant advancements in this area. We look to greater cooperation and exchange of best practices in irrigation, artificial rain, livestock and fisheries, and application of technology for soil and water conservation.

Our agriculture sectors should rightly be sectors of national growth.

We also recognized the importance of tourism for national and regional development as well as strengthening people-to-people relations.  The Philippines looks forward to activities such as promotion of joint tourism destinations to harness this key sector of growth.

Developing human resources is a vital concern for both. I am pleased that the contributions of Filipino teachers in Thailand were recognized.

We need to harness the potentials at institutional levels and tasked relevant agencies to discuss ways of building and strengthening educational institutions networks. This will enhance education cooperation.

Certainly, we need to ramp up technical and capacity building programs to fully realize the potentials of our young populations. With Science and Technology a key area for development, both sides agreed to promote exchanges and interactions between relevant institutions to enhance our capabilities.

Finally, we sought and received Thailand’s support for the Philippines’ ASEAN Chairmanship and its efforts to make the association more people-oriented and people-centered.

We both recognized the need to strengthen ASEAN centrality in the emerging regional architecture.

We both also stressed the need to maintain peace and stability in the region, including in the South China Sea. We recognized too, that respect for freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea is in the interest of all counties within and outside the region.

In this regard, both sides emphasized the need for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and expressed determination to complete the Framework of the Code of Conduct in 2017.

Excellency, Ladies and gentlemen, I complete my tour of ASEAN in Bangkok, where the ASEAN Declaration was signed 50 years ago.

I take this opportunity to recognize Thailand’s continuing key role for the growth and stability of our Association.

We can rightly be described as partners for positive change.

As the Philippines takes on the task of steering ASEAN during this historic year, I am grateful for Thailand’s support as we seek to engage our region and our world to achieve the peace, progress, and prosperity we all desire for our peoples.

Thank you.