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MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will fly to Vietnam for a state visit, his first bilateral meeting with another head of state for 2024.
This is his second foreign trip for the new year, following a quick stop to Brunei in mid-January to attend a royal wedding.
Here are the things you need to know about the President’s trip to Vietnam.
Date of the visit
The Department of Foreign Affairs said on January 26 that President Marcos’ state visit will be from January 29 to 30. The trip is upon invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart, President Vo Van Thuong.
Marcos will be joined by First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos, Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo, other key cabinet members, and his economic team, said Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza.
Marcos will meet with Thuong, as well as Vietnam’s Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính and National Assembly of Vietnam chairman Vuong Dinh Hue.
The DFA said he also will hold a dialogue with the business community there, and attend a gathering for the Filipino community. There are around 7,000 Filipinos in Vietnam.
Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said on January 16 that during the visit, Manila and Hanoi will ink a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on rice supply, to ensure that the Philippines will meet its rice requirements.
Data from the United States Department of Agriculture show that for the 2023 to 2024 marketing year, Vietnam is the world’s fifth largest producer of rice, and third largest rice exporter. In comparison, the Philippines is the eighth largest rice producer, yet it is also the world’s top rice importer.
Marcos and Thuong are also expected to sign another MOU between the two nations’ coast guards, geared “toward the promotion, preservation, and protection of their mutual interest in the Southeast Asian region,” according to the Philippine Coast Guard.
Assistant Secretary Aileen Mendiola-Rau of the DFA Office of the Asian and Pacific Affairs said that maritime agreement is “about capacity building,” and that the state visit will zero in on “possible activities that they will conduct under this agreement.”
Vietnam also has territorial claims over the South China Sea, and has in the past also been in conflict with the Philippines.
Significance of the visit
The Philippines formally established ties with Vietnam in 1976.
The DFA said it is keen on strengthening trade and investment cooperation between the two nations.
“Our two countries have actually set a goal of boosting our bilateral trade up to $10 billion in the coming years,” Mendiola-Rau said.
“The President is also expected to tackle important regional and international issues with Vietnam in order to share views and perspectives, particularly on matters involving the ASEAN region. We consider that this visit of the President would be a significant milestone in our ever-evolving relations with Vietnam,” she added.
This is the Marcos’ 19th foreign trip since taking office in mid-2022. – Rappler.com