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Philippines and Vietnam comply with broaden cooperation in South China Sea, which Beijing additionally claims

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Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos (centre left) and Vietnam’s President Vo Van Thuong (centre proper) go to Thang Long Imperial Citadel in Hanoi on January 30, 2024.
| Photo Credit: AFP

The Philippines and Vietnam signed agreements Tuesday to stop incidents within the South China Sea and broaden cooperation between their coast guards in a rising alliance that can seemingly be frowned upon by China, which claims just about all the waters.

The agreements, together with discussions on enhancing information-sharing and coaching exchanges between the Vietnamese and Philippine militaries, have been solid throughout a go to to Hanoi by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Both sides agreed to spice up commerce and funding and signed a key deal on rice.

The Philippines and Vietnam have had particularly tense confrontations with China within the strategic waterway and key route for international commerce lately. Territorial faceoffs within the excessive seas between Chinese and Philippine ships intensified final yr, fueling fears of a wider battle that would contain Washington, Manila’s longtime treaty ally.

Although Chinese and Philippine officers agreed earlier this month at a gathering in Shanghai to take steps to deescalate tensions, Marcos whereas in Hanoi raised his considerations over the long-seething disputes and cited more and more aggressive actions by the Chinese coast guard.

“There continue to be … unilateral and illegal actions that violate our sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction and exacerbate tensions in the South China Sea,” Marcos said in a call to Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. Transcripts of his remarks were issued by the presidential office in Manila.

The Philippine president cited a water cannon assault by the Chinese coast guard that damaged a Philippine vessel on Dec. 10 near the Second Thomas Shoal and a similar incident in another disputed area, the Scarborough Shoal.

“We are firm in defending our sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction against any provocations,” Marcos said. “But at the same time, we are also seeking to address these issues with China through peaceful dialogue and consultations as two equal sovereign states.”

Marcos said that in his talk with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in the U.S. last November, he stressed “that need to deescalate tensions in the South China Sea, to which he agreed.”

It was not instantly clear how the Vietnamese premier reacted to Marcos’ remarks. Chinese officers additionally didn’t instantly touch upon that, or on the agreements signed by the neighboring Southeast Asian international locations.

Vietnamese and Philippine officers didn’t launch particular particulars of their agreements on stopping and managing incidents within the South China Sea and intensifying coordination on maritime points to advertise belief and confidence.

“I hope that we are able to significantly implement this settlement as rapidly as we are able to,” Marcos stated.

The accord on maritime cooperation “aims to establish a comprehensive partnership between our coast guards on capacity building, training and personnel and ship exchanges to enhance interoperability operations between our two countries,” Marcos stated.

The Philippine chief stated his nation was involved in a joint submission to a United Nations fee that offers with the boundaries of continental cabinets of coastal states. “The Philippines is willing to work with Vietnam for a joint submission at the appropriate time,” Marcos stated.

The two international locations additionally signed a deal on Tuesday for Vietnam to produce the Philippines with 1.5 million to 2 million metric tons (1.6 to 2.2 million U.S. tons) of rice every year at inexpensive costs.

Vietnamese rice accounts for 85% of imported rice within the Philippines and the 2 international locations agreed to create a framework for making certain steady provides. A rice scarcity final yr, exacerbated by local weather change and a few main producers halting exports, resulted in costs hovering globally together with within the Philippines.

Marcos, who arrived in Hanoi on Monday, additionally met with Pham Nhat Vuong, Vietnam’s richest man and the chairman of the sprawling conglomerate Vingroup, which runs the electrical car firm Vinfast.

Vinfast stated after the assembly it might open an EV enterprise community within the Philippines and that the funding would begin later this yr.

VinFast’s plans to broaden within the Philippines are a part of its purpose of promoting EVs in 50 markets worldwide. It is exporting EVs to the U.S. and likewise constructing a $4 billion EV manufacturing facility in North Carolina, the place manufacturing is slated to start this yr. It has additionally stated it would construct factories in Indonesia and India.

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