Hanoi (VNA) – Vietnam always treasures the role of the Philippines in ASEAN, and as the respective strategic partner, both countries should step up all-faceted relations, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said.

He made the remarks while hosting Foreign Minister of the Philippines Teodoro Lopez Locsin in Hanoi on July 8.

Minister Teodoro Lopez Locsin said he had successful talks with Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, describing it as an evidence of close relations between the two countries.

He said the Philippines and Vietnam are the two most dynamic economies in Southeast Asia so the countries should work harder to clearly show their roles.

Apart from economic ties, the countries should intensify defence and security cooperation, thus improving their national defence capacity, he said.

He said his country wishes to soon sign an agreement on import and export of fruits and farm products, considering the deal as the top priority.

For his part, PM Phuc said the two countries have always coordinated well at international forums.

The two countries’ business communities should boost exchanges to achieve higher two-way trade, thus benefiting people, he said, also suggesting the enhancement of cooperation in sea issues, agriculture and energy via organizing more visits and trade promotion activities.

The PM asserted Vietnam will support the Philippines in working as the ASEAN-China coordinator in 2019-2021, expecting the Philippines to work closely with Vietnam during the latter’s ASEAN 2020 Chairmanship and the UN Security Council’s non-permanent membership in 2020-2021.

PM Phuc highly valued the Philippines’s positive contributions to the negotiation for a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), hoping the country will continue pushing for the early achievement of the comprehensive, practical and efficient COC when it is the coordinator of ASEAN-China relations.-VNA