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ASPAC Vietnam Foreign Minister visit1

02 August 2013 - The Philippines and Viet Nam successfully convened on August 01 the 7th Meeting of the Philippines-Viet Nam Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC). The meeting, which was hosted by the Philippines, was co-chaired by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

The JCBC reviews overall bilateral relations between the Philippines and Viet Nam, particularly the progress on the implementation of their Action Plan for 2011-2016. The Action Plan is a framework of specific initiatives to develop bilateral relations in areas including defense and security, fisheries, agriculture, trade, culture and tourism.

In defense and security, the meeting highlighted the growing cooperation between the Philippines and Viet Nam, as seen in the convening of the inaugural meeting of the Defense Cooperation Working Group on 27 February 2013. Both sides also expressed their satisfaction at the establishment of dedicated hotlines between their navies and between the Philippine Coast Guard and the Viet Nam Marine Police.

Secretary Del Rosario welcomed the upcoming visit of Vietnamese Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh from August 25 to 27 and the scheduled visit to Hanoi of Philippine Navy Flag Officer-in-Command Vice Admiral Luis Alano.

PHL Vietnam JCBC

Both sides also affirmed their close consultations on maritime issues, including the West Philippine Sea, which Viet Nam refers to as East Sea. Secretary Del Rosario and Foreign Minister Minh exchanged views on the arbitration case filed by the Philippines on China’s nine-dash line. The meeting recalled Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang’s views that “we cannot find any legal foundation or scientific basis for such claim and therefore it is the consistent policy of Viet Nam to oppose the 9-dash line plan of China” and his affirmation that as a member of the United Nations, the Philippines has the legal right to carry on with any proceedings they would like.

Both sides called for “the settlement of disputes by peaceful means and renewed support for a code of conduct.” Secretary Del Rosario averred that “the Philippines and Viet Nam are close friends and allies. We work closely and coordinate with each other in various issues including the West Philippine issue.”

Noting mutual issues of concern in fisheries, the meeting pushed for the convening of a meeting between the Philippines’ and Viet Nam’s fishermen’s associations, under the auspices of the Joint Commission on Fishery Cooperation.  It also agreed to explore the establishment of a cooperative mechanism, including the establishment of a hotline, to prevent and address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

On law enforcement, the meeting noted the increasingly transnational and transborder nature of crime and its perpetrators, and agreed on the need to conclude agreements in extradition, mutual legal assistance and transfer of sentenced persons.

Minister Minh noted the achievements of the Philippines in the development of alternative and renewable sources of energy, and agreed to encourage private sector investments in this field. They also agreed to strengthen participation in each other’s contracting and bidding rounds for oil and gas exploration.

ASPAC Vietnam Foreign Minister visit3

Bilateral trade in 2012 stood at $1.6 billion in 2012. Noting that the Action Plan provides for a target of $3 billion bilateral trade by 2016, both sides agreed to convene a Joint Working Group on Trade and encourage increased business-to-business exchanges. They also agreed to intensify cooperation in agriculture and convene the Joint Working Group on Agriculture.

In culture, they agreed to cooperate in organizing the “Philippine Cultural Days in Viet Nam” and “Viet Nam Cultural Days in the Philippines” in October 2013.

They also agreed to strengthen linkages between their academic institutions, through provision of joint training programs in human resource development, agriculture, electronics and English teaching.

The next meeting of the JCBC will be hosted by Viet Nam in 2015.  END