Vietnam and the Philippines signed a joint statement in Manila on Tuesday to upgrade their bilateral relations to strategic partnership.
Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh and Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario inked the document following the talks between Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and his visiting Vietnamese counterpart Truong Tan Sang.
President Sang arrived in Manila on Tuesday to attend the 23rd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, which lasts from November 17 to 19.
During their talks, the two leaders agreed that the formation of the strategic partnership is significant as it ushers in a new era for bilateral ties while helping maintain peace, prosperity and stability in the region, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
Expressing pleasure at continuous development in the two countries’ bilateral relations over the past years, the host and guest discussed key orientations to promote the newly-established strategic partnership in the future.
They reiterated the significance of ensuring peace, stability, security, safety, and maritime and aviation freedom in the East Vietnam Sea, as well as of settling marine disputes based on international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The two presidents agreed to intensify the exchange of delegations at all levels and organize activities marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties in 2016.
They pledged that the two nations will maintain current cooperation mechanisms and increase their sharing of information and experience in all fields.
While exchanging views on issues of regional and international concern, President Aquino promised to share with Vietnam experience in hosting the APEC forum, and wished to consult the country about joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) accord.
The TPP deal, reached on October 5 after marathon talks between 12 party countries including Vietnam and the U.S., aims to liberalize commerce in 40 percent of the world’s economy.
The party countries are expected to officially sign the deal no later than the end of the first quarter of next year, after which their legislatures will begin the ratification process.
President Sang expressed his belief that the 23rd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting will be successful, and pledged support for the Philippines’ participation in the TPP.
The two sides agreed to strengthen solidarity and uphold the central role played by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in major matters regarding security and the interest of each country as well as the entire region.
The two presidents also strongly condemned the terror attacks in Paris on November 13 that killed at least 129 people and injured hundreds of others.