Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and his visiting Singaporean counterpart Tony Tan Keng Yam on April 3 agreed on several measures to further strengthen the two countries’ bilateral relations.

Addressing the media after the meeting, Aquino said that he proposed organising a defence dialogue in order to intensify the two countries’ defence and security ties, which, he believes, is key to maintaining stability in the region.

Both exchanged views on restarting the Philippines-Singapore Action Plan, which is considered a mechanism expanding discussions between the two countries and boosting their cooperation in trade, investment, information technology, education and culture.

The Philippine leader stated that he also discussed with his Singaporean counterpart expanding bilateral ties to infrastructure, tourism, shipbuilding and logistics services.

The Singaporean leader congratulated the Philippine Government on reaching the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on March 27, and pledged to work closely with the government to boost ASEAN interest.

Tony Tan is on a four-day State-level visit to the Philippines. This is his first trip to the country.

Singapore is now the Philippines’ fourth largest trade partner with two-way trade hitting 8.22 billion USD in 2013.-VNA