Manila, November 19 (VNA) – Vietnam and the Philippines have issued a joint statement on the establishment of their strategic partnership. 

The following is the full text of the joint statement:


1. The Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the Republic of the Philippines have developed substantive, positive and multifaceted relations, reinforced by warm people-to-people links. Since its formal establishment on 12 July 1976, bilateral ties have been nurtured based on amity, equality, mutual respect and cooperation beneficial to the peoples of both nations. 

2. Cognizant of the evolving political, economic and security architecture in the region, the dynamic effects of an increasingly globalized, interlinked and interdependent world economy in light of the consolidation of the ASEAN Community, Viet Nam and the Philippines have worked closely through friendly consultations, to establish a Strategic Partnership with a view to elevate the level and intensity of bilateral exchanges between the two countries and to harness advantages for common development. 

3. On the occasion of the Bilateral Meeting between His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines and His Excellency Truong Tan Sang, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam on the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leader’s Meeting (AELM) held on 17 November 2015 in Manila, the two Presidents agreed to officially establish the Strategic Partnership between Viet Nam and the Philippines. 

4. Reaffirming ASEAN centrality in the promotion and maintenance of peace, stability and security in the region in the establishment of this partnership, the two sides agree to enhance cooperation in line with ASEAN’s commitment to foster a rules-based ASEAN Community with shared values and norms and a cohesive, peaceful, stable and resilient region with shared responsibility for comprehensive security. 

5. The partnership shall build upon and enhance existing bilateral mechanisms, operationalize concluded agreements and seek even newer avenues to deepen cooperation in various fields. It shall also conform to the principles of the Charters of the United Nations and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and other universally-recognized norms of International Law, as well as respect the laws, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of both countries. 

6. In order to carry out the vision of this Strategic Partnership, the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines will cooperate on the following key areas: 


7. Increase the frequency and diversify the modes of bilateral exchanges at all levels, including political parties, heads of state, government, departments/ministries and other national agencies, the Legislature, local government units and technical working groups, as well as establish the hotline between senior leaders of both countries. 

8. Uphold the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC), led by the Foreign Ministries of both sides, as the primary mechanism for discussing the details of bilateral cooperative activities under this Strategic Partnership. The JCBC shall also be the platform to formulate and implement the six-year Viet Nam – Philippines Action Plan, which shall be reviewed every three years. 

9. To complement the JCBC, other more focused joint commissions, dialogues or mechanisms of cooperation may be put in place between relevant agencies of both countries in order to carry out other goals under this Strategic Partnership. 


10. Endeavor to increase bilateral trade in goods, services and investments in order to achieve a landmark level of trade and investment in time for the 40 th anniversary of the establishment of Viet Nam – Philippines diplomatic ties in 2016 and to sustain increase in bilateral trade volume beyond 2016. 

11. Convene the Viet Nam – Philippines Joint Commission on Trade (JCT) and reactivate Viet Nam – Philippines Business Council to explore ways in enhancing economic cooperation by creating mutually favorable conditions in trade of agricultural and non-agricultural products; shipping; and countertrade; promoting investments in key areas; exchanging business missions; encouraging participation in trade fairs; conducting exchanges and dialogues on macroeconomic policies and FTA engagements; sharing of relevant information as may be agreed by the Parties; and identifying other areas of cooperation in trade and economic development. 

12. Continue the successful collaboration in rice trading through strengthening partnerships between and among the concerned government agencies. Furthermore, to ensure food security and sustainable rural development, the two countries will seek to promote cooperation and experience-sharing in agriculture and application of advanced bio-technology to increase productivity and quality of agricultural output. 

13. Promote opportunities to explore avenues for cooperation to enhance energy security and diversify the energy mix in ways that support energy efficiency and environmental protection. 

14. In accordance with international law and the respective laws of Viet Nam and the Philippines: promote investment opportunities and potential cooperation of mutual interest in developing joint capabilities, technological research and development, production and consumption, and capacity building for managerial and technical personnel in the field of energy such as, but not limited to, renewable and alternative energy sources, oil and gas, including oil in downstream, midstream, and upstream areas, coal, and infrastructure development. 

15. Enhance cooperation in finance, banking and share best practices in restructuring credit institutions to improve macro-financial stability, Public – Private Partnership (PPP), economic restructuring and growth model transformation. 

16. Enhance bilateral cooperation in transportation and share best practices in infrastructure development and transportation management. 


17. Sustain regular meetings of Viet Nam – Philippines Defense Cooperation Working Group at the Assistant Secretary/Director General – level on an annual basis, and the Viet Nam – Philippines Defense Strategic Dialogue at the Vice Minister-level. 

18. Implement the existing joint mechanisms and agreements, including the MOA on Defense Cooperation, to intensify cooperation between their armed services. To this end, joint confidence- and capacity-building activities will be conducted leading to the eventual holding of actual joint activities between the two navies, the timing and modalities of which shall be subject to future discussion. Promote cooperation and experience sharing on UN peacekeeping operations. Enhance cooperation in multilateral military and defense fora, including ADMM, ADMM-Plus , ARF, ACDFIM, among others. 

19. Increase cooperation to enhance the capability of both sides to combat traditional and non-traditional security threats, especially international terrorism and transnational crime. Cooperation between the Philippines’ Department of Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police, Philippine Center on Transnational Crime and National Security Council and Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security and other related agencies of the Ministry will be explored through activities such as: conduct of regular joint working group meetings (at Vice Minister level), exchange of information and best practices, as well as exchanges of delegations for training and capacity building, enhance cooperation within multilateral frameworks such as INTERPOL, ASEANAPOL, SOMTC, AMMTC, among others. 

20. In accordance with international law and the respective laws of the Viet Nam and the Philippines, to mutually cooperate and collaborate towards ensuring that its respective territories will not be used by any organization or non-state actor, to threaten the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political and economic stability of either country. 

21. Work towards enhancing cooperation in legal and judicial affairs. Jointly work on the negotiation and the signing of agreements on extradition, transfer of sentenced per sons, mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, among other legal and judicial cooperation agreements. 


22. Strengthen bilateral and regional cooperation between and among maritime law enforcement and maritime safety administration agencies through dialogue and coordination, practical cooperation and capacity-building activities, recognizing that maritime and ocean issues are vital aspects of bilateral cooperation. 

23. Convene Viet Nam – Philippines Joint Commission on Maritime and Ocean Cooperation at the Vice-Minister level at least once every two years or as requested by either side and hosted alternately between the two countries. Through the Joint Commission, develop joint projects and activities to promote cooperation in all aspects of maritime and ocean-related affairs taking into account their obligations under international law particularly UNCLOS. The Joint Commission shall conduct regular monitoring on the incremental progress of the agreed projects. 

24. Abide by a rules- and norms-based approach in promoting a stable maritime security and maritime safety regime and promote the harmonized implementation in the region of universally-accepted norms and conventions, including conventions and regulations of the International Maritime Organization and related organizations, whenever applicable, to ensure the safety of life and property, and good order at sea. 

25. Continue initiatives between Viet Nam Coast Guard and the Philippine Coast Guard and other related agencies of both countries, including but not limited to maintaining the hotline between both agencies, taking prompt implementation and regular assessments of existing cooperation agreements on oil spill preparedness and response, and search and rescue at sea. 

26. Continue to enhance existing cooperation arrangements in the field of fisheries to include such activities as exchange of experts and information on marine aquaculture techniques and capacity-building for fishermen to ensure the protection and sustainable management of the marine resources within their respective maritime jurisdictions and in accordance with the applicable laws. 

27. Maintain the hotline between Viet Nam’s Department of Fisheries Resources Surveillance and the Philippines’ Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to prevent, deter and eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUUF) and ensure the protection of the rights and welfare of fishermen from both countries that may be involved in such cases. 

28. Consistent with the two countries’ relevant domestic laws and regulations as well as international law, promote maritime cooperation in the South China Sea (SCS), including the conduct of appropriate joint activities in mutually agreed areas in the SCS in the spirit of forging closer friendship and cooperation between the two countries. 


29. Recognizing the need to enhance scientific knowledge and technological knowhow in the building of the knowledge-based economies of the future, push for the convening of the Joint Sub-Committee on Science and Technology Cooperation in order to enhance cooperation in priority areas to be identified by the relevant agencies. 

30. Establish a Technical Working Group in Hydrology, Meteorology, Marine Hydro-Meteorology, Climate Change and marine environment composed of the relevant agencies of both countries and convene its annual meeting at a mutually convenient time and venue in order to develop specific projects and programs that will enhance cooperation in this scientific field. 

31. Push for closer cooperation in scientific research, disaster prevention and mitigation, disaster prevention, disaster response and disaster rehabilitation and recovery, including through joint initiatives and capacity-building programmes towards the conclusion of a Viet Nam – Philippines Protocol on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief. 

32. Cognizant of the global importance of climate change issues, pursue information and technical cooperation on climate change research, adaptation measures, coping mechanisms, and best practices, including participation in exchange programs on sustainable environmental conservation and management. Sustain engagement in discussions on climate change as a strategic global issue, with a view to successfully concluding the negotiations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties on a universal and equitable global climate change agreement in 2015. Coordinate efforts to promote sustainable development, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and disaster risk reduction. 


33. Pursue the strengthening of people-to-people cooperation through the Viet Viet Nam – Philippines Friendship Association (established in August 2014) and the Philippines – Viet Nam Friendship Association (established in October 2014), as well as the conclusion of twinning arrangements between cities and provinces of the two countries. 

34. Work towards the conclusion of an agreement to open up programs for exchanges of students, researchers, trainers, faculties, and other experts in technical and vocational education; and allow for the pursuit of accreditation and mutual recognition of education and academic qualifications. Particularly, development of training and exchange programs for teaching and learning of the English and Vietnamese languages may be pursued. Promote joint research in academic fields to include history, culture and the arts.

35. Endeavor to heighten the exchange of artists, cultural workers, and cultural promotion materials within the framework of Viet Nam – Philippines Agreement on Cultural Cooperation. One area for development is exchanges between the creative industries of both countries such as film. 

36. To broaden existing tourism cooperation, work towards the promotion of a cruise development program, promotion of a mutual recognition arrangement of tourism professionals, as well as encourage the two countries' airlines to open more direct flight routes and frequencies. 

37. Accelerate the early conclusion of the Social Welfare Agreement; and enhance cooperation on labour migration management and experience sharing on the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers. 


38. Increase exchange of views, cooperation, coordination and mutual support, including support to each other’s candidatures, as appropriate, in regional and international cooperation mechanisms, as well as attach high importance to joint efforts towards the realization of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and enhance ASEAN's centrality in an inclusive regional architecture. 

39. Reaffirm their commitment to resolve territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, as well as to ensure maritime security and safety, and freedom of navigation in and overflight above the South China Sea, all in accordance with universally-recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

40. Reaffirm their commitment to handle differences on the South China Sea in a friendly and constructive manner, without resorting to the threat or use of force, and to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability. 

41. Pursue, in consultation with ASEAN and China, the full and effective implementation of the ASEAN-China DOC, and the early launch of substantial, official negotiations towards the early conclusion of the effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. 

42. Push for greater cooperation in disaster risk reduction and management under the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response (AADMER) as the primary guiding framework, and sharing information to contribute to the enhanced operationalization of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Management (AHA Centre). 

43. Proactively strengthen and effectively participate in the ASEAN Maritime Forum (AMF), the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF) and relevant regional fora to enhance maritime cooperation, as well as discuss measures to ensure maritime security and safety, and freedom of navigation in and overflight above in the South China Sea, mobilize knowledge and assistance from maritime legal experts to put forward solutions to challenges and emerging maritime issues, contributing to peace, security and development in the region. 

44. Reaffirm their commitment to global peace and security in line with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. Further reaffirm the importance of an effective multilateral system and undertake to pursue closer cooperation and coordination in a wide range of issues and interconnected challenges confronting the international community, in accordance with international law and the principles of rule of law, sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

45. Increase the exchange of views, coordination and mutual support in APEC and other regional and interregional economic fora, including through the ASEAN Caucus, on policy initiatives and projects that advance trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation, connectivity and economic and technical cooperation. Work closely to successfully organize important international events, including APEC 2015 in the Philippines and APEC 2017 in Viet Nam. 

46. Strengthen coordination and mutual support for the WTO by reiterating the value, centrality and primacy of the multilateral trading system in promoting economic growth and development. 

47. This Joint Statement will serve as the guiding framework for bilateral relations between the Government of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. It has been accomplished in Manila on 17 November 2015 in duplicate, in the Vietnamese and English languages, both texts being equally authentic. The document will come into effect upon signing.” -VNA
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