Filipino president to discuss maritime disputes on Vietnam visit

By VnExpress   September 23, 2016 | 12:14 am PT
Filipino president to discuss maritime disputes on Vietnam visit
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a news conference in August, 2016. Photo by Reuters
The South China Sea dispute is likely to be the focal point during Duterte's visit later this month.

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte will visit Vietnam next week and take part in discussions with local leaders on maritime disputes.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that maritime disputes over the South China Sea (known in Vietnam as the East Sea) will be discussed during the visit, which is scheduled for September 28-29. The visit comes in response to an invitation made by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc during the recent ASEAN summit in Vientiane, Laos.

Vietnam hailed the ruling of an international tribune in The Hague in July that decreed Beijing has no legal basis to claim historic rights to resources in the East Sea. The ruling came after the Philippines filed a case in January 2013 accusing Beijing of violating the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The three all claim the Spratly Islands, besides Brunei and Malaysia.

Sources from the Filipino government said the president also plans to visit Japan in late October and Beijing by the end of the year.

Duterte assumed office last June and has caused controversy with blunt comments about other countries’ leaders. Most recently, an insult directed at U.S. President Barack Obama prompted the latter to cancel a scheduled bilateral meeting.

He has also received criticism at home for a ruthless drug war that has killed nearly 2,000 people.

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