Marcos, Vietnamese leaders to tackle food security, maritime issues

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Marcos, Vietnamese leaders to tackle food security, maritime issues
President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr.
Bongbong Marcos / Facebook Page

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and Vietnam will sign next week a deal to boost cooperation between their coast guards in light of lingering tensions between Manila and Beijing in the West Philippine Sea. 

The agreement is expected to be signed during President Marcos’ state visit to Hanoi on Jan. 29 to 30, according to officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

At a Palace press briefing on Friday, DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza said joining the President’s delegation are First Lady Liza Marcos, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and members of the economic team.

Daza said the President would meet with Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue.

Asked to elaborate on the maritime cooperation between the two nations, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Aileen Mendiola-Rau of the DFA Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs said the memorandum of understanding is a “simple agreement” on how both coast guards will cooperate with each other.

“This is about capacity building. And as part of the agreement, they will discuss possible activities that they will conduct under this agreement,” she said at the same press briefing. 

She said Marcos is also expected to discuss “general topic” on maritime issues with Vietnam’s leaders.

“On maritime issues, there’s a general topic on maritime discussion… when the President meets with the three Vietnamese leaders. But we don’t wish to preempt the discussions at this point,” Rau said.

The Philippines and Vietnam have competing claims over the South China Sea, which is believed to have large reserves of oil and gas. 

Rau said the leaders would also have an in-depth discussion on agricultural cooperation and important regional and international issues.

During Marcos’ visit, the Philippines is also expected to sign a five-year rice deal with Vietnam that would guarantee the stable supply of the staple to the country even during calamities.

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