N.A. Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue

The trip from November 23 to 25, made at the invitation of President of the Philippine Senate Juan Miguel Zubiri, is the first official visit to the country by a key leader of Vietnam in 2022 and by an N.A. chairperson of Vietnam after 16 years. N.A. Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue is also one of the first foreign parliamentary leaders to visit the Philippines after the country successfully held the general elections in May 2022 and elected new leaders to its House of Representatives and Senate in July.

The visit demonstrates the importance Vietnam attaches to the new leadership of the Philippines and the countries’ strategic partnership after they celebrated the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations last year.

Thriving strategic partnership

Despite difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides have effectively maintained contact at all levels. During the visit to the Philippines from June 29 to July 1 by Vice President of Vietnam Vo Thi Anh Xuan to attend the oath-taking ceremony of President Ferdinand  Romualdez Marcos, both the President and Vice President of the Philippines affirmed that they highly attach importance to the friendship and multifaceted cooperation with Vietnam, and agreed that the two sides should evenly promote fields of cooperation in line with the strategic partnership.

Trade cooperation is a highlight in bilateral relations. Trade reached a record 6.8 billion USD in 2021 and over 6 billion USD in the first nine months of 2022.

However, investment ties remain modest. By the end of December 2021, the Philippines had 82 valid projects worth 615 million USD in Vietnam, ranking 28th among the 140 countries and territories investing in the latter. Meanwhile, Vietnam had only five investment projects worth 4 million USD in the Philippines.

Defense, security and ocean partnerships have developed substantively and effectively. Besides, there remains much room for agricultural cooperation, especially when Vietnam is a leading exporter of farm produce in the region and the Philippines is the second most populous country in ASEAN. Collaboration in other areas like education, tourism, and people-to-people exchange has also been bouncing back after a hiatus caused by the pandemic.

In addition, the two countries have also shown timely and effective coordination in many issues of common concern at regional and international forums.

Elevating parliamentary ties

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the parliaments of Vietnam and the Philippines have had few chances to hold mutual visits over the last two years, and they also haven’t signed any cooperation agreement. However, bilateral meetings have still been maintained on the sidelines of international and regional inter-parliamentary conferences.

According to Chairman of the N.A. Committee for External Relations Vu Hai Ha, Vietnam is one of the three strategic partners of the Philippines, apart from the U.S. and Japan. In the coming visit, N.A. Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue and Philippine leaders will discuss measures for fostering bilateral cooperation and strengthening the strategic partnership.

Philippine Ambassador to Vietnam Meynardo LB. Montealegre noted bilateral relations are years-long friendly and cooperative ties. In 2021, the countries marked 45 years of their diplomatic links, which were upgraded to the strategic partnership in 2015.

The current relations are oriented by the action plan for implementing the strategic partnership for 2019-2024, which covers areas such as politics, defense, security, healthcare, economics and tourism.

He added aside from attending parliamentary cooperation activities, the top legislator of Vietnam will also meet local senior leaders and enterprises, which will also contribute to the strategic partnership.

The diplomat expressed his belief that there will be several opportunities for enhanced collaboration, especially in economy, healthcare, food security, climate change response and  tourism.

Source: VNA