Hanoi (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh welcomed the first official visit to Vietnam by Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Lopez Locsin during their talks in Hanoi on July 8, believing that the visit will help strengthen bilateral strategic partnership.

Minh said the visit will also promote ties between the two foreign ministries following the ninth meeting of the Vietnam-Philippines Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation last March.

Locsin, who is in Vietnam from July 7-10, spoke highly of Vietnam’s considerable progress in national development and global integration over the past years.

Both sides agreed to facilitate all-level visits and people-to-people exchange, regularly maintain and effectively uphold bilateral cooperation mechanisms, including the joint working group on ocean-related affairs and defense policy dialogue.

They vowed to consider issuing annual political consultation mechanism and signing new cooperation agreements on national defence, security and law enforcement.

Host and guest affirmed determination to remove barriers regarding trade and investment, and work closely together to hold the third meeting of the commission this year.

The Philippine Foreign Secretary pledged to make it easier for Vietnamese fruits, vegetables, cattle and fowl meat to enter the Asian country soon.

The two sides promised to improve the efficiency of cooperation in other important fields of education – training, labour, transportation, science-technology, culture-tourism, particularly in marine issues and fishery.

They highlighted the need to enhance consultation and offer mutual liaison on issues related to security and strategy within ASEAN framework, improve the bloc’s security and central role together with other member states, and successfully realise the ASEAN Vision 2025.

They also committed to working closely together at multilateral forums, especially at the UN when Vietnam undertakes the role of non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure.

On the East Sea issue, they vowed to consistently follow the principle of peacefully settling disputes in line with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The leaders stressed the necessity to enhance trust and the importance of non-militarisation, refraining from actions that could complicate the situation and increase tension in the East Sea.

They vowed to offer mutual support and maintain regional solidarity in the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, as well as negotiations on reaching a practical, effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea in line with international law and 1982 UNCLOS.

Following the talks, the two ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the two foreign ministries.-VNA