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Saturday, May 25, 2024

PH, Vietnam seek maritime pact

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PH-VIETNAM TIES. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. thanked Vietnamese Ambassador Hoang Huy Chung for his service as his country’s envoy to Manila in a farewell call at Malacanang on Thursday. PCO Photo

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he is looking forward to signing an agreement with Vietnam that would strengthen maritime cooperation in the West Philippine Sea.

“Now that we are going to start discussions on the agreement that wehave between the Philippines and Vietnam, I think it is a very, veryimportant – it will be a very, very important part of our relationshipand it will bring an element of stability to the problems that we are seeing now in the South China Sea,” the President said during a courtesy call of outgoing Vietnam Ambassador to the Philippines Hoang Huy Chung.

Mr. Marcos said the agreement “is going to be a very big step” in maritime cooperation between the Philippines and Vietnam.

The ambassador said Vietnam President Vo Van Thuong extended his gratitude to President Marcos and the Philippine government for working closely with them, especially on their common interest in the West Philippine Sea and the prevention of further incidents in the Philippine waters.

“And President, Vietnam, we have very respect for your thought that you are a friend to all, none enemy,” Chung told Mr. Marcos.

Meanwhile, the President met with Zimbabwe’s non-resident Ambassador-Designate to the Philippines, both sides eyeing to explore stronger bilateral relations.

The President welcomed Ambassador Constance Chemwayi, who will be based in Malaysia, to the Malacañang Palace for the presentation of her credentials.

“I hope that we will find many things to explore. I hope that your coming today will be the beginning of that close ties,” President Marcos told Chemwayi.

The President affirmed that the Philippines and Vietnam have a good solid agreement that is beneficial for both counties, making it easier for them to face the “common challenges” “when it comes to territorial disputes in the South China Sea.”

“I really believe that we have to make these bilateral agreements. I think you will not be surprised and I think I’m not giving away any confidence that we will like to have these bilateral agreements as well with the other countries within ASEAN,” Mr. Marcos said.

Last month, the Supreme Court has denied with finality a tripartite partnership of the Philippines, China and Vietnam to explore a portion of the West Philippine Sea for oil and gas.

The High Court struck down due to lack of merit the appeal of its January 10, 2023 decision declaring as unconstitutional the Tripartite Agreement for Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) by China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), Vietnam Oil and Gas Corp. (PetroVietnam), and the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC).

In 2008, the parties had agreed to search an area in the South China Sea covering 142,886 square kilometers for possible petroleum and gas resources.

But in an en banc resolution, the SC junked the oil firms’ motion for reconsideration seeking to reverse its decision to void the JMSU since the issues raised have already been passed upon in its ruling in January.

The High Court declared the joint search unconstitutional for allowing wholly-owned foreign corporations to participate in the exploration of the Philippines’ natural resources without observing the safeguards provided in Section 2, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution.


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