Duterte to meet with Filipino community during Vietnam visit
President Rodrigo Duterte will begin his official visit to Vietnam by meeting the local Filipino community there.
Duterte is expected to leave Manila for Hanoi on Wednesday afternoon, his visit aimed at strengthening the relations between the two countries.
Upon arrival on Wednesday afternoon at the Noi Bai International Airport, the President will face the Filipinos in Vietnam, who will be coming to Hanoi to see him.
According to the program of activities released by Malacañang, the meeting will take place at the Intercontinental Hotel in the nation’s capital.
Vietnam, a socialist state, has over 3,800 Filipinos living and working all over the country.
The highlight of the second day of the President’s official visit is his official meetings with top Vietnamese officials, including Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
On Thursday morning, Duterte will take part in wreath-laying ceremonies at the Monument of the National Heroes and Martyrs and at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
This will be followed by an official welcome for the visiting Philippine leader at the State Palace, also on Thursday morning. Duterte is expected to meet Vietnamese state President Tran Dai Quang.
In the afternoon, the President will pay a courtesy call on the Vietnamese prime minister.
Duterte will make a separate courtesy call on Nguyen Phu Trong, the general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam.
Earlier, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose said the President and the Vietnamese leaders are expected to tackle various areas of bilateral cooperation and exchange views on regional and international issues.
These include “maritime cooperation, enhancement of law enforcement and defense cooperation, increasing two-way trade and investments, strengthening joint cultural activities, as well as heightened exchanges in agriculture and fisheries.”
Aside from being neighbors in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the Philippines and Vietnam are among the claimant countries in the South China Sea territorial dispute.
The two countries disapprove of China’s nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea, with Vietnam supporting the Philippines in its arbitration case against China.
Earlier, Jose said the President will be ready to discuss the territorial dispute should it be brought up in his official visit to Hanoi.
The DFA spokesperson said this will be in the context of “emphasizing the need or the importance of maintaining, peace, stability, security in the region” if the South China Sea issue is tackled.
Duterte’s last official engagement in Vietnam will be a one-and-a-half hour state banquet in his honor at the International Center on Thursday evening.
The President is expected to return to the Philippines via Davao later on Thursday night.
The visit is part of the President’s introductory visits to member-countries of the Asean.
Vietnam is the third country that Duterte would be visiting after assuming the presidency.
Early this year, he made his debut on the international scene at Laos during the Asean summit where he accepted the chairmanship of the Asean.
This was followed by a working visit to Indonesia, where he met Indonesian President Joko Widodo to discuss the fate of Filipina Mary Jane Widodo, who is on death row on drug trafficking charges. CDG/rga
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