PH, Brunei to work for peaceful settlement of maritime disputes
The Philippines and Brunei, which both have claims in the South China Sea, will work for the peaceful resolution of maritime disputes, which would be a key theme in the code of conduct in the disputed waters that is being sought to be crafted.
President Duterte and Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah also emphasized the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
They welcomed the progress in the consultations on the framework of the code of conduct.
The South China Sea issue was among the matters they took up during their bilateral meeting in Malacañang on Thursday.
The two leaders, who affirmed the strong ties between their countries, also discussed cooperation on trade and security issues.
Bolkiah is in the Philippines for a state visit and for the 30th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The Philippines is pushing for the completion of the framework for the code of conduct between Asean and China this year, as it hosts the regional bloc’s summit.
“We will work together to ensure that the principled position for the peaceful resolution of disputes will be articulated fully,” Mr. Duterte said following his bilateral meeting with Bolkiah.
“This is a collective interest that must be upheld in the implementation of the Declaration of the Code of Conduct and greater progress on the Framework of Code of Conduct in South China Sea,” he added.
He said the members of the international community have duties that they must abide by as they seek peace, stability, and security in the South China Sea.
Brunei and the Philippines will also continue their cooperation in the campaign against terrorism, violent extremism, and piracy at sea, he said.
They will also work together for peace and development in Mindanao.
Bolkiah said Brunei will work with the Philippines in addressing issues on drugs. The campaign against illegal drugs is a key component of Mr. Duterte’s platform.
“We also look forward to our future collaboration in addressing issues on drugs. We believe that both sides will benefit from the exchanges of expertise and best practices in this area,” the sultan said.
Mr. Duterte and Bolkiah also witnessed the signing of an agreement on cultural cooperation and memorandum of understanding on the halal industry and halal export development and promotion.
Bolkiah said Brunei was interested in developing a partnership with the Philippines for investment and the production of halal products, which would boost their economic cooperation.
On energy matters, the oil-rich Brunei would cooperate with the Philippines in exploring “potential downstream and upstream activities.”
Bolkiah also expressed appreciation for the contributions of 23,000 Filipino nationals in Brunei. Many of the Filipinos there work as teachers, health professionals, and engineers.
Bolkiah is the first head of state to go to the Philippines on a state visit during Mr. Duterte’s term, and the second to arrive in the country.
Earlier this year, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to the country on a two-day official visit.
Mr. Duterte visited Bandar Seri Begawan last year.
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