TRUSTWORTHY PARTNER. Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính (center) talks with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte over the phone late Monday (July 19, 2021). Chính affirmed that the Philippines is always an important and trustworthy partner that shares many concerns and strategic interests with Vietnam. (VNS photo)

HANOI – Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính spoke with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte over the phone late Monday, affirming that the archipelago nation is always an important and trustworthy partner that shares many concerns and strategic interests with Vietnam.

Chính said relations between Vietnam and the Philippines have been consistently growing throughout the past 45 years, since diplomatic ties were established on July 12, 1976.

Duterte noted that the Philippine government and its people have consistently treasured and worked to develop the countries’ strategic partnership, and they appreciate Vietnam’s meaningful assistance in the recent past, including providing medical supplies for the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The two leaders agreed to work closely to promote relations in all aspects, with focus on implementing the plan of action for 2019-2024, carrying out activities marking the 45th founding anniversary of the diplomatic relationship, enhancing cooperation in security and defense and trade and investment, and creating favorable conditions for and encouraging enterprises to invest and do business in the sectors matching the countries’ potential and strength.

Chính highlighted Vietnam’s readiness to continue ensuring stable and long-term rice supply for the Philippines, asking to further open its market to food and agricultural products from Vietnam.

The leaders also agreed to consider expanding cooperation to new areas amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as digital transformation, digital economy, e-commerce, and green economy.

They also shared the view that vaccine is an important strategy in response to the pandemic and work towards sustainable socio-economic recovery.

The Vietnamese prime minister said the two sides should cooperate more actively to secure equal access to vaccine sources, an idea highly valued by Duterte.

Regarding regional and international issues, both agreed their countries would strengthen ties and support each other at multilateral mechanisms like the United Nations and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

They also agreed to work closely to implement the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.

The leaders shared the view on the importance of continuing to maintain Asean solidarity and principles relevant to the East Sea issue.

They affirmed the close coordination of their stances and viewpoints to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and accelerate the negotiation on a Code of Conduct (COC) on the waters between Asean and China to achieve an effective and substantive COC that accords with international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, thereby helping to sustain regional peace and stability.

On this occasion, Duterte invited Chính to pay an official visit to the Philippines. The Vietnamese leader accepted the invitation with pleasure. (VNS)