Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (R) and Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has called on Vietnam and the Philippines to tap their potential for trade and investment ties to match with the strategic partnership.

He told visiting Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during their meeting in Hanoi on September 29 that Vietnam will create the best possible conditions for Philippine investors in agriculture, food processing, services and tourism.

The leader suggested the Philippine side facilitate Vietnamese investments infrastructure, oil and gas exploitation, mining and services in the country.

He urged the two sides to continue their close cooperation in rice trade via the Governmental level Rice Trade Agreement.

Vietnam stands ready to provide rice for the Philippines in the long term, helping the country ensure food security, the PM noted, proposing the two countries soon expand the memorandum of understanding on rice trade for 2017-2020.

He also suggested enhancing the bilateral collaboration in other spheres like culture, tourism, transport and fisherman affairs.

“Vietnam and the Philippines should step up their affiliation across fields in a more pragmatic and effective fashion, particularly in national defence, security, trade, investment, as well as at regional and international forums,” PM Phuc said.

In the realm of politics-diplomacy, the leader stressed the maintenance of all-level delegation exchanges and existing cooperation mechanisms, while increasing people-to-people exchanges.

He called for conducting joint patrols and carrying forward the Joint Committee on Sea and Ocean Cooperation at deputy foreign ministerial level , and the group of legal experts within the framework of the committee.

“Vietnam is willing to work with the Philippines in the fight against drugs and other crimes like high-tech crimes, cyber crimes, human traffickers and terrorists,” he said, adding that Vietnam will also partner with the country in maritime security, naval forces, maritime police and rescue operations at sea.

The two sides should promptly sign an agreement on extradition and another on the transfer of prisoners, he said.

Host and guest agreed on the need to team up with each other in protecting peace and stability in the East Sea, as well as interests and rights of each country, in line with international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, opposing the use of violence, and building the East Sea of peace and non-military.

PM Phuc also suggested the two sides ratchet up sea and ocean cooperation; continue strengthening ASEAN’s unity as well as its role in handling the East Sea issue; work more closely in ASEAN through information sharing and coordination in stance; and promote regular exchanges between the Brunei, the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam towards forming a key group in the bloc.

For that, the countries need to coordinate in enhancing ASEAN’s central role in responding to challenges that impact on peace, stability, and security in the region, and the relations with other dialogue countries, the Vietnamese leader said.

He said if a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) is finalised in 2017 on the bloc’s 50 th founding anniversary, it will be a hallmark and an important step forward of not only ASEAN, but also the Philippines as the ASEAN Chair, contributing to promoting peace and stability in the region.

President Duterte told his host that when he was young, one of his dreams was visiting Vietnam and that he admired Vietnam’s victory in the struggle winning national independence and its renewal and development achievements and saw the country as an example for his country to follow.

He highly valued what the Vietnamese Government and people have done for the Philippines, especially the supply of rice for the country when it dealt with food shortage, affirming that Vietnam is a good neighbor and brother of the Philippines.

He stated that his country backs Vietnam’s organization of the APEC 2017 and welcomes PM Phuc’s attendance at ASEAN 2017.

He expressed his hope to sign more trade agreements with Vietnam, saying that will help the two become strong nations in the region.

The Philippines also wants to boost cooperation with Vietnam in other domains, including the prevention and combat of crime and stands ready to negotiate on the signing of an extradition agreement.

On the East Sea issue, Duterte agreed that parties involved need to continue working to settle all disputes and disagreement peacefully with respect to international law.

The Philippines protests the use of force in this area and wants the sides concerned to work to promote mutual understanding, the President stressed.

He went on to say that ASEAN needs to make more efforts to solve the East Sea issue peacefully, suggesting speeding up consultations among the bloc’s member countries on this matter.
Also on the day, President Duterte and his entourage were feted by President Tran Dai Quang. The banquet was also attended by the Ambassadors and Charge Affaires of the ASEAN countries in Vietnam.

Later, President Duterte left Hanoi, wrapping up his official visit to Vietnam from September 28-29 at the invitation of President Tran Dai Quang.-VNA