Duterte flies to Vietnam for a working visit


MANILA, Philippines - President Rodrigo Duterte left on Wednesday for a two-day official visit to Vietnam that seeks to boost the ties between Manila and Hanoi and to strengthen their cooperation against illegal drugs.

Duterte said he is looking forward to renewing the ties of friendship between the two countries and to affirm the commitment to work closer to attain common goals.

“I look forward to exchange views and explore opportunities further significantly improving our economic bilateral cooperation, including stronger partnership in economic, agriculture, defense and maritime cooperation,” the president said.

“We will seek to identify emerging areas of partnership particularly in the fields of maritime security and law enforcement,” he added.

Duterte said he and Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang would also discuss measures to curb narcotics trade, a priority of his administration.

“We shall also seek the ways to advance collaboration in the campaign against illegal drugs trade, consistent with the global of realizing an ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) drug-free community,” he said.

“We will work with Vietnam and the rest of the ASEAN in suppressing the proliferation of illegal drugs for us to secure a better future for our generation and the generations to come.”

Duterte said his two-day visit coincides with the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two Southeast Asian countries. It also came as the two countries are preparing leadership roles in international events.

“For the past 40 years, the Philippines and Vietnam have fostered a strong relationship built on a common desire towards achieving greater peace and prosperity, anchored on the basic tenets of sovereign equality, non-interference and peaceful settlement of disputes,” the Philippine leader said.

“I am confident that, as we build on the outcomes of this visit, the relations between the Philippines and Vietnam will become even more stronger, pursued, as it has to be, with mutual respect, closer cooperation and deeper understanding,” he added.

The two-day visit to Vietnam is Duterte’s third foreign trip as president. His first foreign trip was the ASEAN summit in Laos while his second out-of-the-country engagement was his working visit to Indonesia.

Duterte left for Vietnam a few minutes before 2 p.m. via Philippine Airlines chartered flight PR 001.  

Officials who are part of his official delegation were foreign affairs secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Philippine Ambassador to Vietnam Noel Servigon and Senators Alan Cayetano and Francis Escudero. 

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