PH, Vietnam seen to review defense cooperation in Duterte visit
Hanoi, Vietnam—President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Vietnam is a good opportunity for both countries’ leaders to revisit their mutual defense and maritime cooperation, particularly in fighting transnational crime.
Philippine Ambassador to Vietnam Noel Servigon noted that the two countries can also further improve its maritime cooperation and trade relationship with the visit of Duterte.
“This would also be good opportunity to meet and review our defense cooperation because the Vietnam and the Philippines have new sets of defense leaders. We recommended that this will build a closer relationship through mutual visits,” he said in an interview with RTVM.
Servigon is part of the President’s official delegation in his official visit to Hanoi. He was appointed as ambassador six months ago.
Servigon said they suggested that the maritime cooperation between Vietnam and the Philippines should be part of the agenda of the meeting between Duterte and state President Tran Dai Quang.
Duterte will be arriving in Vietnam on Wednesday afternoon on a two-day official visit as part of his introductory visits to the Philippines’ neighbors in the region.
He is scheduled to meet with the state president, prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Nguyen Phu Trong, the general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam.
Aside from the issue of maritime cooperation especially in the field of fisheries, Servigon said the issue of law enforcement may be also discussed during the meeting.
“One item is about transnational crime, on law enforcement activities. We believe that after the meeting, there would be subsequent meetings of other officials to follow this up,” he said.
The ambassador said this would be to ensure that more concrete measures will be adopted to “further enhance the cooperation of law enforcement activities” between the two countries.
He added that the sea dividing the Philippines and Vietnam should be a bridge to unite and link the two countries.
“There are many areas for cooperation especially in the field of fisheries, that is one of our emphases in developing this. We hope that with the visit of the President, this would open more avenues for us to find better ways for interaction in terms of maritime cooperation,” Servigon said.
There are more opportunities for improving trade relations with Vietnam, especially with the establishment of the economic community within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Servigon noted that the Philippines imports much of its rice supply from Vietnam.
“By identifying the different markets in Vietnam as they improve their economy into a market economy, there would be also more markets for our products, especially in electronics,” he said.
He added that the Philippines is also monitoring how Vietnam will take part in the Asean economic community because of the intense potential for the Philippines.
“We are following the developments here because we believe that there is so much potential that the Philippines will be able to develop when it comes to economic relations here in Asean,” he said.
It may be recalled that Duterte met with the Vietnamese prime minister on the sidelines of the Asean summit in Laos early this month.
“I’m sure there would be more exchange of views concerning economic matters between our president and the prime minister of Vietnam,” Servigon said.
Meanwhile, Duterte’s call on the general secretary of the Communist Party’s central committee is also seen to elicit an exchange of views on regional and international issues.
Servgion noted that Nguyen “is an experienced leader of Vietnam, and I’m sure it will be a fruitful exchange of views between the two countries.”
The ambassador said the Philippines may take advantage of the new leadership in Vietnam to further its own relations.
He also encouraged Filipino industrial investors and businessmen in Vietnam to organize themselves in order to have a united voice in terms of policy representation and other issues.
He added that Duterte’s visit to Vietnam is a good chance for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to listen to him talk about developments in the Philippines, particularly his priorities and policies for OFWs. RAM
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