President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc discussed the delineation of maritime boundaries when the two leaders met on Thursday on the sidelines of the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting here.
“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,” Duterte said in his arrival speech at the Davao International Airport late Thursday night.
The Philippines and Vietnam are two countries that have maritime and island claims in the disputed West Philippine Sea or South China Sea, which is said to be rich in oil and natural gas deposits.
Other claimant countries are China, Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia.
During their full side meeting, Duterte and Phuc have also expressed commitment to work closely in achieving progress and stability in the region.
“We both committed to work more closely to achieve shared goals for stability in the region,” the Filipino leader said.
At the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting, Duterte called on his fellow leaders to confront all the challenges “head on” to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“At the end of the meeting, the Philippines remains committed to work closely with ASEAN and key global institutions to ensure a peaceful, secure and stable environment that promotes the greater common good,” Duterte said.
Duterte also held a bilateral meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo.
The President personally conveyed to his Indonesian counterpart Philippines’ condolences to Indonesian people who suffered successive earthquakes and tsunami.
“In times of need, Indonesia was ready to help. Now, we are giving back. That’s the ASEAN way. That’s our duty as brother and a neighbor,” he said.
Duterte said Widodo welcomed the humble assistance that the Philippines coursed through the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Center).
On Thursday, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go led the symbolic handover of the USD500,000 (PHP27 million) in cash and in-kind humanitarian assistance consisting of generators, water, and medical kits to Indonesia.
Duterte assured Widodo that the ASEAN stands with the people of Indonesia in responding to disasters.
After the Leaders’ Gathering and his bilateral meetings with Phuc and Widodo, Duterte attended the gala dinner hosted by the Indonesian leader before returning to the Philippines.