Vietnam, Philippines forge stronger partnership hinh anh 1Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (L) and Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Perfecto Yasay (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Perfecto Yasay agreed to hasten the approval of the Vietnam-Philippines action programme for 2017-2022 to forge stronger bilateral cooperation.

The agreement was reached during their meeting in Boracay, the Philippines on February 20 on the sidelines of the ongoing ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat.

The two sides pledged to urge agencies of each country to implement agreements and enhance the efficiency of existing partnership mechanisms such as the bilateral cooperation committee, defence policy dialogue, Joint-Committee on maritime and ocean issues, and Sub-Committee for trade collaboration.

Yasay committed to holding the third Foreign Ministerial Meeting on Committee for Bilateral Cooperation and the ninth Deputy Foreign Ministerial Meeting on maritime and ocean issues in the Philippines this year.

He also vowed to consider creating favourable conditions for Vietnam’s vegetable, fruit and poultry meat to be sold in his country.

Additionally, both sides agreed to strengthen the exchange of information and experience and to boost affiliation in combating crime, terrorism, high technology crimes, and drug and human trafficking, while negotiating to sign an agreement on extradition and another on transfer of convicts.

In the context of piracy in the region, Deputy PM Minh asked the Philippines’ Foreign Ministry to coordinate closely, share information and cooperate with ASEAN countries to tackle the problem to ensure maritime security and safety.

The two sides expressed delight at the strong growth of the bilateral strategic partnership, which has been fostered through exchanges of high-ranking delegations, including the Vietnam visit by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in September last year.

Along with bilateral cooperation, the two sides discussed international and regional issues of shared concern. They agreed to work closely in presiding over multilateral meetings in 2017, with the Philippines ASEAN Chair and Vietnam hosting APEC.

They will cooperate to strengthen solidarity and the central role of ASEAN in major matters related to security and the interests of each country and the region, while reaffirming the need to ensure peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea as well as the settlement of maritime disputes based on international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The two sides also pledged to coordinate with other ASEAN countries to implement the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and hasten the signing of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea.-VNA