Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) welcomes Vietnamese Minister of National Defence General Ngo Xuan Lich (Source: pcoo.gov.ph)

Manila (VNA) – The Philippines treasures cooperation with Vietnam and hopes to further develop bilateral defence ties, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte told Vietnamese Minister of National Defence General Ngo Xuan Lich.

At a reception for the minister in Manila on October 25 as part of Lich’s visit to the Philippines, President Duterte affirmed that defence is one of the major pillars in the Philippines-Vietnam strategic partnership. He vowed to continue backing collaboration between the two armies.

General Lich congratulated the Philippines on fulfilling its role as the ASEAN Chair in 2017, confirming that the country has contributed to boosting defence cooperation within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and between ASEAN and its partners.

On October 26, Minister Lich held talks with his Philippine counterpart Delfin Lorenzana, during which he affirmed the Philippines is an important and prioritised partner in Vietnam’s foreign policy.

Lorenzana said that the Philippines wants to strengthen relations with Vietnam, with priority given to defence ties. He pledged to do his utmost to deepen bilateral defence cooperation.

To continue the effective implementation of agreements, the ministers agreed to maintain the exchange of delegations, boost exchanges between young officers, and promote the efficiency of the deputy ministerial defence policy dialogue.

They committed to intensifying collaboration in training, supporting each other at multilateral forums and coordinating in studying and producing products of the defence industry.

As the region is facing numerous non-traditional security challenges, the ministers agreed to strengthen cooperation between the two armies, especially naval and coastguard forces, and study a cooperation mechanism between law enforcement forces at sea to maintain peace and security in the region and ensure safety for fishermen.-VNA