Marcos to Address Maritime Issues and Trade Cooperation During Vietnam Visit

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is set to embark on a visit to Hanoi next week, where he will engage in discussions regarding maritime issues, agriculture, and trade cooperation with Vietnam. This visit, scheduled from January 29 to 31, comes as an invitation from Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong, and will be President Marcos’ first trip to Vietnam since assuming office in 2022.

During his visit, President Marcos will hold meetings with President Thuong, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chin, and National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue. The focus of these discussions will be on exploring avenues for deepening bilateral cooperation across various fronts. Additionally, the President will engage with business sectors to promote trade and investment relations between the Philippines and Vietnam.

A significant aspect of President Marcos’ visit to Vietnam is the opportunity to address the Filipino community residing in the country. With approximately 7,000 Filipinos living and working in Vietnam, this meeting will allow the President to connect with and address the concerns of the Filipino diaspora.

One of the key issues to be addressed during the visit is food security. Vietnam is one of the largest exporters of rice to the Philippines, making it a crucial partner in achieving the Philippines’ goal of attaining food security. As such, discussions on agricultural cooperation, including the possibility of a rice agreement, will be a focal point of the visit.

The Department of Agriculture, in collaboration with its Vietnamese counterpart, is working on an agreement that will ensure a continued supply of rice to the Philippines. This agreement will play a vital role in securing the country’s food security and strengthening the agricultural ties between the two nations.

Furthermore, the Philippines and Vietnam share a strategic partnership within the ASEAN region. Their cooperation extends to various areas, including defense and security, maritime affairs, agriculture, and people-to-people relations. In this regard, both countries are also working towards a maritime deal to enhance cooperation between their coast guards.

While important regional and international issues are expected to be discussed during President Marcos’ visit, the specific details have not been disclosed. When asked about the South China Sea, Assistant Secretary Aileen Mendiola-Rau stated that there would be a general topic on maritime discussions. However, the specifics of these discussions will be determined during the meetings and will not be preempted at this point.

It is worth noting that the Philippines and Vietnam, along with other neighboring countries such as China, Brunei, Malaysia, and Taiwan, have overlapping claims in the South China Sea. China asserts its territorial rights over practically the entire waterway, despite a 2016 ruling by an arbitration tribunal in The Hague rejecting its claim. The Philippines and Vietnam have a shared history spanning almost 50 years, and their goal is to further strengthen bilateral trade, with a target of reaching $10 billion in the coming years.

President Marcos’ visit to Vietnam signifies the importance of fostering strong relationships with neighboring countries and exploring opportunities for cooperation. By engaging in discussions on maritime issues, agriculture, and trade cooperation, the President aims to enhance bilateral ties and contribute to the overall development and prosperity of both the Philippines and Vietnam.

In conclusion, President Marcos Jr.’s upcoming visit to Vietnam holds great significance in strengthening bilateral relations between the Philippines and Vietnam. By addressing maritime issues, agriculture, and trade cooperation, the President aims to deepen ties and explore opportunities for collaboration. This visit marks an important step towards achieving mutual prosperity and development for both nations.

Source: The Manila Times

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