Jul 09, 2019 / 15:53

In Hanoi: Vietnam, Philippines' top diplomats discuss South China Sea issues

The Hanoitimes - Locsin Jr. and Minh emphasized the need of boosting trust among parties and addressed a series of measures for maritime solutions.

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has visited Vietnam where he discussed measures with his Vietnamese counterpart on coping with the South China Sea issues which bother both Hanoi and Manila. 
 
Vietnamese Deputy PM and Foreign Affairs Minister Pham Binh Minh and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. Photo: VGP
Vietnamese Deputy PM and Foreign Affairs Minister Pham Binh Minh and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. Photo: VGP
Locsin and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh affirmed the need of boosting trust among parties and no militarization in the South China Sea, which Vietnam calls the East Sea, the Vietnamese government said on its website. 

The top diplomats agreed on mutual support and solidarity in ASEAN in implementing the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and negotiations on an ASEAN-China Code of Conduct (COC) to make it substantive and in line with the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982. 

Minh and Locsin emphasized the importance of consultation and cooperation among related parties in security and strategic sectors under the framework of ASEAN and in multilateral forums, including the UN after Vietnam secures a seat on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for the 2020-2021 term. 

In a visit to Manila in March 2019, Minh said: “We both underlined the importance of maintaining peace, stability, safety and security of navigation in the South China Sea, peaceful resolution of (the) dispute, and respecting the diplomatic and legal processes, respecting international law, including UNCLOS 1982, full observation of DOC towards early conclusion of an effective and substantive COC.”

Bilateral relations 

 
Minh and Locsin Jr. in Manila in March. Photo: VNS
Minh and Locsin Jr. in Manila in March. Photo: VNS
For bilateral ties, the top diplomats agreed to maintain the bilateral cooperation mechanisms, including joint working groups on sea and ocean issues and defense dialogue. 

The two sides consider setting up annual politic consultation mechanism while signing agreements on defense, security, and law enforcement. 

Meanwhile, the ABS-CBN News cited the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that “The visit is seen to build on the positive momentum stemming from the 9th Meeting of the Philippines-Vietnam Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) held in Manila in March this year, which also saw the adoption of the Philippines-Vietnam Plan of Action for 2019-2024.”

The JCBC is a regular consultative mechanism between the two countries to discuss bilateral and regional issues of mutual concern. The last JCBC was held in Hanoi in October 2015.

During his visit as secretary of the DFA, Locsin paid a courtesy call on Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The visit was set exactly a month after a Vietnamese fishing vessel rescued 22 Filipino fishermen who were abandoned by a Chinese crew that sank their ship near the Recto (Reed) Bank in the South China Sea. 

Earlier in mid-June, Locsin said in a tweet that “Vietnam’s rescue will be the basis of enhanced Vietnam-Philippines military cooperation.”