Vietnam, Philippines treasure sea, ocean cooperation

Senior officials from the Philippines and Vietnam have underscored sea and ocean cooperation as the cornerstone of the two countries’ relations.
Senior officials from the Philippines and Vietnam have underscored sea and ocean cooperation as the cornerstone of the two countries’ relations.

The point was made at the 7th session of the Vietnam-Philippines Bilateral Cooperation Committee, which was co-chaired by Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and his counterpart Albert F. Del Rosario in Manila, the Philippines, on July 31-August 1.

The officials voiced their pleasure at the establishment of a sea and ocean joint committee at the foreign deputy ministerial level and a group of legal experts on marine issues, which serve as effective bilateral mechanisms to boost the two countries’ dialogues and collaboration in sea-related issues.

They discussed ways to effectively implement cooperation agreements to address oil spills, along with sea search and rescue.

Discussing matters on the East Sea, the two sides upheld the principles of ASEAN on ensuring peace, stability, security, maritime safety and freedom, settling disputes by peaceful means in compliance with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, carrying out the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and ASEAN’s Declaration on Six-point Principles on the East Sea, and advancing towards the early building of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Turning to security-defence cooperation, the two FMs agreed to continue implementing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on enhancing information exchanges between their two naval forces and the agreement to establish a hotline between Vietnamese maritime police and Filipino coastguards and join efforts to handle non-conventional security challenges.

They highly valued the robust bilateral trade, which recorded nearly 3 billion USD last year, and is expected to further increase in the coming time.

They also welcomed the signed agreement on rice supply for 2014-2016 and consented to step up negotiations for completing the Protocol on Agricultural Cooperation and successfully implement the agreement on Fishery Cooperation focusing on aquatic research and farming.

The settlement of cases involved the two countries’ fishermen and ships violating each other’s waters areas will be handled on the basis of humanitarian spirit and bilateral friendship, the officials said.

They came up with an agreement to boost bilateral cooperation in other fields -- energy security, culture, education-training, science-technology, environment, social welfare and development.

The officials agreed to maintain exchanges between senior officials and the people in order to enhance mutual trust and understanding.

FM Minh visited the Philippines on July 31-August 1, at the invitation of Albert F. Del Rosario.

The next event will be hosted by Vietnam in 2015.-VNA

See more