The meeting, dubbed as Staff-to-Staff Talks (STST) and the sixth of its kind held at the Vietnamese People’s Navy (VPN) headquarters in Hai Phong city, highlighted the strengthening of ties between the navies amid unfolding maritime security challenges in SCS.
Edd Gumban
Philippines, Viet navy officials tackle maritime security
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - November 30, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Key Philippine and Vietnamese navy officials met in Hanoi last Tuesday to discuss and address peacefully the two countries’ overlapping maritime claims in the hotly disputed Spratlys archipelago in the South China Sea (SCS).

The meeting, dubbed as Staff-to-Staff Talks (STST) and the sixth of its kind held at the Vietnamese People’s Navy (VPN) headquarters in Hai Phong city, highlighted the strengthening of ties between the navies amid unfolding maritime security challenges in SCS.

“Topics discussed were of common interests, such as maritime security challenges in the region, best practices in handling maritime incidents, and a review of bilateral activities between two navies over the past year,” said Navy acting spokesperson Lt. Commander Maria Roxas.

More importantly, Roxas added, the two sides discussed areas of future cooperation, which include the continuing exchange of education and training offers, high level visits, port calls, support for each other at the hosting of multilateral naval engagements next year and the possible conduct of military training activities.

Rear Admiral Rey dela Cruz, Navy chief of naval staff, co-chaired the activity opposite Senior Capt. Hoang Quang Ha, VPN deputy chief of staff.

“The STST is aimed at further strengthening the ties between the two partner navies by serving as an avenue to initiate high level delegation exchange visits, ship port calls, people interaction and exchanges, and other naval bilateral activities,” Roxas said.

The Philippines and Vietnam along with China, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei, have competing maritime and territorial claims over the Spratly’s island chain.

China claims almost 90 percent of the SCS, causing serious security concerns among the claimant states and to the US, Australia and Japan because of its continuing militarization in the region.

All of the seven formerly obscure maritime features that China has reclaimed, are now highly fortified manmade islands and serving as forward military bases for Beijing’s Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard.

PHILIPPINE STAFF-TO-STAFF VIETNAMESE
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