PH, Vietnam discuss sea boundary issues

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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte discusses matters with Socialist Republic of Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyễn Phúc during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders' Gathering held at the Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua in Bali, Indonesia on October 11, 2018. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

BALI, Indonesia — To ensure peaceful resolution of their respective maritime and island claims in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), President Rodrigo Duterte and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc discussed the delineation of maritime boundaries in the sidelines of the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting here.

Both countries are claimants to the disputed territory, said to be rich in oil and natural gas deposits, along with Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and China.

“This has something to do with delineation of our boundaries. And I told him that in due time, but we will take a longer period for we have to establish even our continental shelf limits,” the President said upon his arrival at the Davao International Airport from the one-day gathering late Thursday night.

In May 2014 the Philippines signed with Indonesia a historic agreement defining the maritime boundary between their overlapping Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) in the Mindanao Sea and Celebes Sea. The agreement was signed after 20 years of negotiations.

During their meeting, Duterte and Phuc expressed commitment to work closely together in achieving progress and stability throughout Southeast Asia.

They also agreed to seal the Vietnam-Philippines action plan for 2018-2023 soon to enhance cooperation between the two nations.

Among areas of bilateral cooperation being explored between Manila and Hanoi include national defense and security, economy and trade, energy and maritime affairs.

The President and Vietnamese PM also reiterated their support to the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and the finalization of an effective, practical and legally-binding Code of Conduct in the East Sea.

Both leaders likewise agreed to highlight the significance of enhancing cooperation in maritime affairs and creating conditions for both Filipino and Vietnamese fishermen for legal, safe and sustainable fishing.

According to Duterte, Vietnam remains a close friend and ally of the Philippines and he wishes to continue advancing the strategic partnership between the two nations.

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