MANILA- Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. will visit Vietnam next week, his first as top diplomat, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Friday.
Locsin will be in Vietnam from July 8 to 9 on the invitation of Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh, the DFA said.
“The visit is seen to build on the positive momentum stemming from the 9th Meeting of the Philippines-Vietnam Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) held in Manila in March this year, which also saw the adoption of the Philippines-Vietnam Plan of Action for 2019-2024,” the DFA said.
During his visit, Locsin will hold a bilateral meeting with Pham, pay a courtesy call on Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and visit the Philippine Embassy in Hanoi.
The visit was set exactly a month after a Vietnamese fishing vessel rescued 22 Filipino fishermen who were abandoned by a Chinese crew that sank their ship near the Recto (Reed) Bank in the West Philippine Sea.
The waters form part of the Philippines' exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, where both the Philippines and Vietnam have been contending against China's expansive claims. Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan also have partial claims to the resource-rich waters.
Locsin, in a tweet, earlier said that “Vietnam’s rescue will be the basis of enhanced Vietnam-Philippines military cooperation.”
Chinese vessel sinks Philippine boat in Recto Bank —Lorenzana I TAKE MY CUE FROM DEFENSE SEC LORENZANA. WHAT IS CONTEMPTIBLE AND CONDEMNABLE IS THE ABANDONMENT OF THE CREW TO THE ELEMENTS. VIETNAM'S RESCUE WILL BE THE BASIS OF ENHANCED VIENTAM-PH MILITARY COOPERATION.
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) June 12, 2019