Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., who wrapped up his official visit to Vietnam on Monday, paid a courtesy call on Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
Teddy Locsin Jr. twitter
DFA chief thanks Vietnam for rescue of 22 fishermen
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - July 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has thanked Vietnam for having rescued 22 Filipino fishermen abandoned by a Chinese ship after the latter hit and sank their fishing boat near Recto Bank last month.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., who wrapped up his official visit to Vietnam on Monday, paid a courtesy call on Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Locsin held a bilateral meeting with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and extended thanks to Vietnam for the rescue of the 22 Filipino fishermen at sea.

The meeting between Locsin and his counterpart followed through on bilateral initiatives detailed in the Philippines-Vietnam Plan of Action 2019-2024.

The foreign affairs chief undertook his first bilateral official visit to Vietnam on the invitation of the Vietnamese government.

A report in the Saigon Times said the Vietnamese boat captain realized they might have had an accident at sea upon seeing the Filipino fishermen of F/B Gem-Ver 1 soaking wet and shivering.

Vietnamese boat captain Nguyen Thanh Tam narrated the rescue of the Filipino fishermen, who were taken to the Vietnamese ship TGTG-90983-TS.

The captain said he feared that they might be pirates but the men continued using hand signals to request help and pointed toward Recto Bank.

The Vietnamese boat found the Filipino fishermen wearing life jackets and clinging to plastic barrels and pieces of wood from the shipwreck. The Filipino fishermen were given rice, instant noodles and warm materials.

As the two countries look to celebrating in 2020 the fifth anniversary of the elevation of relations to a strategic partnership, the two foreign ministers lauded early progress in implementing their plan of action, in concert with the relevant agencies in their respective governments.

The ministers expressed satisfaction over their sustained and regular reciprocal high-level visits as well as the robust economic engagement between the two countries at the level of both policymakers and their business sectors. The two sides also agreed to further strengthen cooperation in maritime affairs, law enforcement and labor.

The ministers signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in keeping with a bilateral commitment reached during the 9th Meeting of the Philippines-Vietnam Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation held in March. The MOU aims to foster close collaboration between the Philippine and Vietnamese foreign ministries toward the effective implementation of the plan of action and the outcomes of the biennial JCBC meetings.

“The agreements we will forge will not be automatically replicated with other countries because we want to show the world the standard for how two true mutually respectful friends treat each other generously. Each other and no one else,” Locsin said on Twitter.

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