HANOI – Vietnam and the Philippines on Wednesday agreed to strongly push maritime cooperation and quickly handle sea issues through improved bilateral coordination.
Philippines' Secretary for Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo is on a two-day visit in Vietnam to co-chair the 10th meeting of the Vietnam-Philippines Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC-10) with his Vietnamese counterpart Bùi Thanh Sơn.
Manalo was elated by his first visit to Vietnam, the first country he has visited since taking office on July 1, 2022.
He affirmed that the Philippines always values the consolidation and development of friendly and cooperative relations in many fields with Vietnam, the Philippines' only strategic partner in ASEAN.
Sơn said the visit was of great significance, contributing to further promoting the strategic partnership between the two countries.
At the meeting, with the participation of representatives from relevant ministries and sectors of the two countries, both sides conducted a comprehensive review and evaluation of the bilateral relationship since the 9th JCBC meeting in Manila (March 2019) and the implementation of the Action Programme for the Implementation of Vietnam-Philippines Strategic Partnership in 2019-2024.
Both sides were satisfied with the positive development of Vietnam-Philippines ties over the past four years, including during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Vietnam and the Philippines also concurred on several specific measures to continue promoting cooperation in various fields, including strengthening high-level exchanges and contacts, particularly the visit to Vietnam by Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. at a suitable time; and effectively implementing bilateral cooperation mechanisms, including the Joint Committee on Sea and Ocean Issues, the Joint Trade Sub-Committee, the Joint Working Group on Agriculture, and the Joint Working Group on Fisheries.
Both sides will also promote the development of an Action Programme for the implementation of the Vietnam-Philippines Strategic Partnership in the period 2025-2030.
They will also work on efforts to strengthen defense and security cooperation, striving to bring bilateral trade turnover to USD10 billion soon, with an emphasis on rice trade.
They also agreed to enhance maritime and ocean cooperation, strengthen information sharing and coordination in dealing with issues arising at sea, and improve the effectiveness of cooperation in preventing and combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing activities (IUU).
Stronger cooperation in important fields such as agriculture, culture, tourism, education, transportation, science and technology, environment, and people-to-people exchanges, was discussed at the meeting.
The two countries' diplomats also agreed to continue to coordinate and support each other at multilateral forums, especially ASEAN and the United Nations; and work together with other ASEAN countries to uphold the unity and central role of ASEAN and promote ASEAN sub-regional cooperation, contributing to the building of a strong and prosperous community.
The two ministers also agreed to enhance cooperation between the foreign ministries of the two countries, including strengthening exchanges on international and regional issues of mutual concern and promoting cooperation between the two countries' diplomatic academies.
At the end of the meeting, Sơn and Manalo jointly signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) of the meeting of the JCBC-10 and agreed to hold the 11th meeting of the commission in the Philippines in 2025.
Manalo has invited Sơn to visit the Philippines at a suitable time.
The same day, the Filipino diplomat also paid a courtesy call to Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính, where the two sides expressed mutual commitment to the Strategic Partnership.
Vietnam remains the Philippines' only strategic partner in ASEAN and one of the two in the world.
They also underlined the focus on accelerating socio-economic development and enhancing national, regional and global security with ASEAN at the center. (VNS)