President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed confidence that the Philippines will build a stronger relationship with Vietnam as he pledged to work closely with his counterparts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to find ways to collaborate in the campaign against the illegal drugs trade.
In his predeparture briefing at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal II in Pasay City, the President said he will work with Vietnam and the rest of the ASEAN in curtailing the proliferation of illegal drugs to secure a better future for the next generations.
"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," the President said.
Duterte said that upon his return, he would report on the accomplishments of his visit.
Duterte stressed that the two-day official visit is important as the Philippines and Vietnam commemorate 40 years of diplomatic relations. Both countries also prepare to take leadership in the roles of the region in 2017 - the Philippines as chair of the ASEAN and Vietnam, as chair of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
Duterte said that 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 President said he will also seek to identify emerging areas of partnership with the Vietnam President, particularly in the fields of maritime security and law enforcement.
"As maritime nations with rapidly developing economies, we acknowledge the convergence of our strategic interest. Broadening cooperation and collaboration between the Philippines and Vietnam and solidifying our strategic partnership to further strengthen our countries in the regions which we belong to," he explained.
"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," he added.
Source: Philippine Information Agency