Vietnam on Wednesday committed to cooperate with the Philippines on a wide range of areas that include food security, climate change, defense and food supply.
The commitment came from Vietnam National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue in a meeting with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Malacañang.
“I am looking forward to building upon excellent relationships between our two countries. And under your leadership, we will continue to work closely together and I am very confident under your leadership and with your experience, you will help contribute further to strengthen the bilateral relations between our two countries and also in helping elevate the role and position of the Philippines on the global stage,”Vuong told President Marcos.
President Marcos said he was fortunate to have met his Vietnamese counterpart, President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, at the 29th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Bangkok, Thailand last week.
“I was able to have a meeting with your president wherein we discussed many subjects that primarily [include] agriculture and the trade between our two countries, when it comes to the agricultural importation and in importing from Vietnam to the Philippines,” Mr. Marcos told the Vietnamese official.
“He was kind enough to make a commitment of Vietnam to always include the Philippines as part of your trade partners, especially when it comes to rice. We covered many other subjects as well. We touched upon the issues in our region about defense and security and some of the common interests between the Philippines and Vietnam,” Mr. Marcos said.
Mr. Marcos has earlier confirmed he would visit Vietnam upon the invitation of President Nguyen.
President Marcos was also able to meet with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Cambodia, and agreed there to further strengthen their partnership in defense, trade, investment, agriculture and maritime security.
Vuong said he was impressed with the commitments made by the Philippines during the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) to work to address climate change and to work together on transitioning towards clean energy.
President Marcos was represented by House Speaker Martin Romualdez during the AIPA event.
Vuong also expressed hope to “enhance the partnership” between the two countries’ legislatures.
“We are hopeful that we can do more to enhance the relationships between our political parties and government-to-government and parliament-to-parliament relationships, and most importantly, the people-to-people exchanges,” the Vietnamese official said.
President Marcos said he was a little surprised that 16 or18 years have transpired since the exchange of visits between the two countries’ legislatures. “That is much too long for such close neighbors,” the President said.
Vuong told the President Vietnam is organizing a forum on business and investment in the country to open new opportunities for Vietnamese businessmen wanting to invest in the Philippines.
“I want to report to you that tomorrow morning, we are organizing a very important forum on business and investment between our two countries, and I’m happy that Speaker Martin (Romualdez) also accepted my invitation to participate in the forum along with executives and business leaders from our countries,” he said.
“And I hope that will lay the groundwork for further strengthening trade and investment ties bilaterally. I suggest that we can work bilaterally and also multilaterally to address the challenges facing our region,” Vuong added.
In the ASEAN, Vietnam and the Philippines can work on the South China Sea issue, the Myanmar situation, supply chain disruptions, high inflation, the impact of climate change and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Vuong said.
The two countries could also collaborate on digital transformation, cybersecurity, and other areas of cooperation, the Vietnamese official said.
Vuong said there is a lot of room for bilateral cooperation because the Philippines and Vietnam enjoy excellent political relationships that can expand cooperation in trade, investment, defense and security, education and training, science and technology, tourism as well as people-to-people exchange.
Vuong agreed with the President on the need to have a balance in trade, as he declared that Vietnam is planning to import more commodities and goods from the Philippines.
“And also believe that apart from rice trade, we can expand our current relations to the import and export of construction materials, particularly cement,” the Vietnam high official added.
Marcos told Vuong that previous business and commercial tie-ups between Vietnamese and Filipino investors developed and strengthened relationships.
“So, it looks like those of us in government will have to catch up to the business community and strengthen and make the—find new ways to coordinate, to help one another, especially as we come out of this pandemic economy and with the problems that we are feeling because of the conflict in Ukraine,” Marcos said.
The chief executive also said he immediately agreed to go to Vietnam upon the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart, although there is still no definite schedule for such a visit.
Romualdez welcomed the visit of his Vietnamese counterpart by presenting to him a copy of a House resolution seeking to further strengthen the ties between the two countries through the Philippine-Vietnam Parliamentarian’s Friendship Society.
Romualdez presented a copy of House Resolution (HR) 34 (earlier adopted as HR 571) to Vuong during their meeting at the House of Representatives.
Hue, accompanied by other Vietnamese lawmakers and government officials, arrived Wednesday morning for a three-day official visit to the country.
Hue thanked Romualdez and the Philippine lawmakers for their warm welcome as he also stressed the importance of strengthening the strategic partnership between the two countries and enhancing trade and economic relations, as well as people-to-people exchanges.
In adopting HR 34, the House said: “Among the 10 member countries of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), the Philippines and Vietnam have developed a special relation through the years anchored on shared goals, common visions, and mutual interests for the benefit of their peoples and towards a genuinely peaceful and productive path in regional cooperation.”
“As a member of the ASEAN, the Philippines accords great importance to its continuing friendship with the member countries, especially with Vietnam, and views the friendship and historical ties of solidarity and cooperation among the Southeast Asian countries as essential elements to attain peace and prosperity in the region,” the resolution added.
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