MANILA, Philippines – “This is more than a wish list. It is a commitment to steer Philippines-Vietnam relations towards a more meaningful and deeper cooperation.” With this, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario acknowledged the 11 areas of cooperation reviewed by senior officials of both countries at the 6th Philippines-Vietnam Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) held October 6 and 7 in Hanoi.
This year, the Philippines and Vietnam are celebrating the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
Since the last JCBC in 2008, the two countries have worked together on a number of areas such as political cooperation, defense and security, trade and investments, maritime and ocean concerns, agriculture, energy, tourism, education and culture, according to a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Secretary del Rosario and Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh highlighted the official exchanges that continue to give impetus to the bilateral relations, notably the positive outcomes of the visit to Vietnam by President Benigno S. Aquino III in October 2010 and the forthcoming visit of President Truong Tang to the Philippines later this month.
An Action Plan for 2011-2016 is expected to be approved and launched during President Tang’s visit to drive the cooperation to a comprehensive and solid partnership, nurtured with great trust and genuine friendship.
At the 6th JCBC, the two sides agreed to speed up implementation of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Defense Cooperation and the MOA on Academic Cooperation signed in October 2010.
Senior officials on both sides also endorsed the enhancement of cooperation on maritime and ocean concerns such as the elevation of the Joint Permanent Working Group on Maritime and Ocean Concerns (JPWG-MOC) into a Vice Ministerial level, continued support for the Joint Oceanographic and Marine Scientific Research in the South China Sea (JOMSRE-SCS), and implementation of the MOA on Oil Spill Preparedness and the MOA on Search and Rescue at Sea.
Noting the need to protect the fragile marine ecosystems in the West Philippine Sea from threats of overexploitation, the two sides agreed to cooperate to address illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing in accordance with their national laws.