Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang held talks with his Philippine counterpart, Benigno S. Aquino III in Manila on October 26, following an official welcome ceremony at the Malacanan Palace.

At the talks, the Philippine President applauded President Sang’s state visit, saying that it will make an important contribution to lifting the friendship and multifaceted cooperation between the two countries to a new level.

President Sang said he was pleased to visit the Philippines for the first time as State President of Vietnam and congratulated the Philippine Government and people for recent successes in national construction and development.

President Benigno S. Aquino III expressed his belief that Vietnam will successfully implement its 2011-2020 socio-economic development strategy, turning it into an industrialised country soon.

The leaders expressed their pleasure at fine developments of the friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and the Philippines over the past 35 years in all fields ranging from politics, diplomacy, defence, security to economics, trade and investment, maritime, agro-forestry, fisheries, education and training, culture and tourism.

They agreed to continue discussions on the possibility of bringing the bilateral cooperation to a strategic level, for the interests of the two countries’ people as well as for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region.

Applauding positive developments in defence and security cooperation between the two countries, the Presidents highly valued the signing of a cooperative document between the two naval forces and a document on the establishment of a hotline.

Affirming maritime cooperation as a pillar in bilateral ties, the leaders spoke highly of the establishment of a joint committee on sea and ocean at the deputy foreign minister level and the committee’s plan to convene its first session in 2012.

They also exchanged views on the issue of illegal fishing and welcomed the establishment of a coordination mechanism between the two countries in dealing with this issue.

The leaders agreed to bring two-way trade between the two countries to at least 3 billion USD in 2016 and increase investment in areas of their strength.

They said the two countries should further expand cooperation in other fields such as culture, tourism, education and training, energy, oil and gas and environmental protection.

Regarding regional and international issues, the Presidents affirmed that the two sides will continue close cooperation and coordination at multilateral forums as well as support each other’s bids to become members of regional and international organisations.

The leaders also discussed the East Sea-related issue, emphasising the importance of ensuring peace, stability, marine security, safety and freedom in the East Sea as well as peacefully solving disputes between concerned parties on the basis of international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

They stressed the central role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the importance of the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) towards building a Code of Conduct (COC) of Parties in the East Sea .

President Sang invited President Benigno S. Aquino III to visit Vietnam at an appropriate time and the Philippine leader accepted the invitation with pleasure.

After the talks, President Sang and his Philippine counterpart witnessed the signing of four cooperative documents, including a Vietnam-Philippines action programme for the 2011-2016 period, a memorandum of understanding on strengthening cooperation and information sharing between the Vietnam People’s Navy and the Philippines Navy.

A cooperative agreement on the establishment of a hotline between the Vietnam Marine Police and the Philippines Coast Guard, as well as a Vietnam-Philippines tourism cooperation plan for the 2012-2015 period were also inked.

Later in the day, President Benigno S. Aquino III hosted a banquet in honour of the Vietnamese President and his entourage./.