Palace: PH, Vietnam agree to promote peaceful settlement of disputes in South China Sea



MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and Vietnam have reaffirmed their commitment to pursue peace and stability in the hotly-contested South China Sea, Malacañang said Wednesday.

According to a statement by the Presidential Communications Operations Office, President Duterte and Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc spoke over the phone on Tuesday evening where they “reiterated their commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes” in the South China Sea.

Like the Philippines, Vietnam claims part of the South China Sea where China asserts sweeping claims of ownership.

Last month, the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat by a Chinese coast guard vessel off the disputed Paracel Islands prompted the Philippines to issue a statement support to its Southeast Asian neighbor.

The Philippines said with the discussion on a Code of Conduct in the maritime area, it is “crucial that such incidents be avoided and that differences be addressed in a manner that enhances dialogue and mutual trust.”

Manila likewise reiterated that provocations in the conflict-marred South China Sea should be avoided, urging “forbearance and good behavior” from all parties involved while standing by their individual claims of sovereignty, especially as the world faces the threat of COVID-19.

It can be recalled that Vietnamese fishermen helped Filipino fishers who were onboard F/B Gem-Ver which was rammed and sank by a Chinese trawler last year.
During the phone conversation between the two leaders, the Palace noted that Phuc said the Philippines has “played well the role of Country Coordinator of ASEAN-China relations”.

The Philippines has been actively pushing for the conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.

The Philippines and Vietnam elevated their bilateral ties to a Strategic Partnership in 2015.

The two sides committed to enhance cooperation in a wide of areas — political, economic, socio-cultural, and defense and security cooperation, including in the area of maritime security.

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