Philippines, Vietnam to create 6-year action plan for cooperation
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and Vietnam agreed to establish an action plan covering the years 2017 to 2022 to enhance cooperation in areas of common interest, including trade and defense.
This was one of the gains of President Rodrigo Duterte’s two-day official visit to Vietnam listed in a Joint Statement between the Philippines and Vietnam released to Philippine media early morning Friday, September 30.
Read the full statement below:
The Joint Statement enumerated the agreements reached between Duterte and Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang during a bilateral meeting on Thursday, September 29.
The 6-year action plan follows a Strategic Partnership established by the two nations in November 2015, an agreement that aims to intensify bilateral exchanges.
Defense, West PH Sea
In the field of defense cooperation, the two presidents affirmed the value of the Policy Dialogue mechanism linking Vietnam’s defense ministry and the Philippines’ Department of National Defense and called on their top defense officials to find new ways to intensify cooperation.
The two Southeast Asian leaders agreed to strengthen the hotline communication mechanism between their Coast Guards and to adopt measures to ensure the safety of their fishermen. It is also hoped that future measures will ensure that both countries “solve amicably the unexpected incidents at sea.”
Duterte and Quang affirmed their commitment to promoting peace, stability, and freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) where both their countries have claims. Both countries also face aggression in the disputed sea from China which is claiming 90% of the water body as its exclusive economic zone. (READ: Duterte to Vietnam's Quang: Bilateral talks with China 'necessary')
To operationalize their commitment, the presidents agreed to work “expeditiously” for the early adoption of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea and to work on “their position” on the historic Hague ruling that recognized the Philippines’ claim in the West Philippine Sea and rejected China’s. (READ: PH seeks to learn from Vietnam's approach to China)
The two leaders agreed to implement the Joint Commission on Maritime and Oceanic Affairs, a cooperation mechanism between their foreign ministries.
In the area of trade and economy, Duterte and Quang aim to continue cooperation on fisheries between their countries. They agreed to implement the Memorandum of Understanding on Fisheries Cooperation signed in 2010. (READ: Duterte, Quang agree to 'level up' trade between PH, Vietnam)
They both said they would consider signing a Mutual Recognition Agreement on quality control, management, and safety of agricultural and fisheries products.
They agreed to consider the extension of the Memorandum of Agreement on Rice Trade and convene the 2nd Joint Commission on Trade with the aim of increasing the volume of two-way trade and investment. More investments by both countries were eyed in areas like agriculture, food processing, tourism, and infrastructure.
There were also agreements reached on crime, a favorite topic of Duterte’s.
The two leaders called for the establishment of dialogue, this time between the latter’s Ministry of Public Safety and the former’s National Security Council.
Duterte and Quang agreed to explore ways to intensify cooperation in law enforcement, especially when tackling transnational crime like drug-trafficking. This cooperation can take the form of more exchange in intelligence and sharing of best practices.
They called for the fast-tracking of talks on bilateral agreements covering extradition, mutual legal assistance in criminal issues, and the transfer of sentenced persons.
In other areas, the two leaders agreed to consider signing a Memorandum of Understanding on Education Cooperation and welcomed the recent adoption of a cultural exchange program between Vietnam’s Ministry on Culture, Sports, and Tourism and the Philippines’ National Commission on Culture and the Arts.
Duterte and Quang reaffirmed their commitment to the implementation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Community Vision 2025.
Following ASEAN tradition, the ASEAN chairmanship was passed on to Duterte in early September. After Laos, the Philippines is set to host the next ASEAN Summit in January 2017.
Quang expressed his support for Philippine leadership of ASEAN while Duterte expressed his support for Vietnam’s chairmanship of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
Duterte expressed his gratitude for the hospitality and warmth of the Vietnamese government and invited Quang to visit the Philippines. – Rappler.com
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