Philippine president thanks Vietnam for stable rice supply

By VNA   January 30, 2024 | 02:59 am PT
Philippine president thanks Vietnam for stable rice supply
President Vo Van Thuong and his Philippine counterpart Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. shake hands at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Jan. 30, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
Philippine counterpart Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. thanked Vietnam for its readiness to ensure stable and long-term rice supply to the Philippines during his Hanoi visit Tuesday.

During talks in Hanoi on Tuesday morning, Marcos also told his Vietnamese counterpart Vo Van Thuong he highly valued the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on rice trade as part of his trip, which he believed will contribute to ensuring food security and forging solidarity between the two countries.

He also hailed contributions by the Vietnamese community in the Philippines to local socio-economic development.

Thuong stressed the significance of his guest’s first-ever state visit to Vietnam in his capacity as president of the Philippines.

The visit is significant as it will contribute to creating new momentum for the bilateral strategic partnership, he said, congratulating the Philippines on its socio-economic achievements, notably its economic growth which is among the highest in the region.

Marcos Jr. also lauded Vietnam's outstanding results in socio-economic development and external affairs over the past time, and affirmed that Vietnam remains the only strategic partner of the Philippines in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). He also expressed his hope for more effective and substantive cooperation between the two countries.

The sides highlighted the development of the bilateral relationship after it was upgraded to a strategic partnership in 2015, saying the political and diplomatic ties have been consolidated through all-level contacts and delegation exchanges, and bilateral cooperation mechanisms.

Two-way trade has been rapidly growing over the past years, they said, adding that the Philippines continues to be Vietnam’s biggest rice importer.

The two leaders also noted progress in collaboration in culture, tourism, education-training, and people-to-people exchange after the Covid-19 pandemic.

They agreed to strengthen cooperation in politics and diplomacy through the exchange of visits and contacts at all levels, and work together to set out an action program implementing the strategic partnership for 2025-2030.

The two countries will also enhance collaboration in economy, striving to soon raise the bilateral trade revenue to US$10 billion by easing trade barriers, facilitating exports, optimizing trade agreements in the region, and encouraging their businesses to invest in such sectors as processing, high-tech agriculture, infrastructure, and oil and gas.

The bilateral cooperation is expected to be expanded to new, important fields like digital economy, green economy, digital transformation, circular economy, and renewable energy.

The two sides consented to work together in climate change response, pollution settlement, carbon emission reduction and plastic waste treatment, among others.

The leaders concurred to strengthen collaboration in national defense and security, and shared the view on the importance of maritime cooperation. They also agreed to cooperate in raising the capacity for fighting cross-border and high-tech crimes.

Thuong suggested the Philippines continue its humanitarian treatment towards Vietnamese fishermen, and soon extend the hotline agreement between the two agriculture ministries to quickly exchange information on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, helping Vietnam soon have the European Commission's "yellow card" warning on its seafood removed.

The leaders agreed to expand cooperation in other important spheres like education, culture, and tourism, touching upon the opening of more direct flights and the enhancement of people-to-people exchange.

The Philippine president affirmed his support for Vietnam to host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in 2027.

For the East Sea issue, they committed to maintaining and promoting peace, security, stability, safety and freedom of navigation and overflights, and called on parties to exercise self-restraint, not use force or threaten to use force, fully respect diplomatic and legal processes, and address disputes by peaceful measures in line with the basic principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The guest invited Thuong to pay a state visit to the Philippines at an appropriate time. The Vietnamese leader accepted the invitation.

Following the talks, the two sides issued a joint statement and attended a ceremony to exchange cooperation documents in agriculture, rice trade, maritime affairs and culture.

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