(Message of President Truong Tan Sang of Vietnam on the occasion of his state visit to the Philippines)
I am delighted to be back to the beautiful and hospitable country of the Philippines as the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to see with my own eyes the great achievements recorded by the people of the Philippines in their cause of nation building and development.
In the more than 35 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two nations, the friendship and multifaceted cooperation between Vietnam and the Philippines have been growing exceedingly well in the interest of the two peoples. The two sides have exchanged quite a few visits of their top leaders as well as their agencies at all levels. People-to-people exchanges have also been promoted to further strengthen unity, mutual trust and understanding. Bilateral cooperation in all fields from trade, investment and agriculture to security-defense, maritime and ocean issues, and education-training, is prospering. Besides, other potential areas of cooperation are also being explored such as tourism, renewable energy, oil and gas and mining. At regional and international forums such as the United Nations, Asean, EAS, Apec or Asem, our bilateral cooperation is also becoming stronger, thus making a contribution to peace, stability and cooperation in Southeast Asia and the world at large.
In Vietnam, the comprehensive reforms since 1986 have brought about great achievements of historical significance. Vietnam is today considered a dynamic economy in the region and an attractive destination for investors and tourists from around the world. Vietnam’s GDP growth rate in the past 25 years averages around 7-7.5 percent. In spite of the current global economic slowdown, Vietnam still records a fairly good growth rate of 6.7 percent in 2010 and 5.7 percent in the first 9 months of 2011. Vietnam has received international appreciation for its accomplishments in social endeavors such as poverty reduction, job creation, human resources development, education and training, science and technology, health and culture and has also been recognized for its fulfillment of most of the Millennium Development Goals. Along with its economic achievements, Vietnam continues to maintain its political and social stability. Vietnam is striving to attain its developmental goal of becoming a fundamentally industrialized and modern country by 2020 with a sustainable and fast-growing economy.
In the consistent pursuit of its foreign policy of independence, sovereignty, peace, cooperation and development, diversified and multi-directional external relations, Vietnam engages in “active and pro-active international integration” and expands cooperation to all areas so as to help Vietnam integrate itself comprehensively into the world. In the implementation of this policy, Vietnam will accord priority to deepening its cooperation and partnerships with neighboring countries and Asean members and to augmenting substance and effectiveness of these partnerships. As an Asean member, Vietnam will join hands with the Philippines and other members in accomplishing the goal of building an Asean Community by 2015. We again underline the importance of the maintenance of peace, stability, maritime security, safety and freedom in the East Sea and the peaceful settlement of disputes in the region on the basis of adherence to international law, specifically the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos) as well as the DOC.
The excellent outcomes of the past 35 years of cooperation provide us with every basis to elevate the Vietnam-Philippines relationship to new heights of greater comprehensiveness and depth in the spirit of “Framework of Bilateral Cooperation in the Next Quarter Century and Beyond” signed in 2002. Vietnam-Philippines relations must be commensurate to the existing potentials and the roles and positions of the two countries in the region. I believe that this visit of mine to the Philippines will serve as a new and important mark in the elevation of the Vietnam-Philippines cooperation to a higher, more comprehensive, and more enhanced plane, in the interest of sustainable development and prosperity of our respective countries as well as for the sake of peace, stability, cooperation, and prosperity in the region.
May I take this opportunity to offer to the Filipino people the very best and warmest wishes from the Vietnamese people. May the people of the Philippines, with their assiduity and creativity and under the judicious leadership of President Benigno S. Aquino III, continue to attain greater achievements in building a more developed and prosperous Philippines that enjoys a higher position and role in the region and the world. May our bilateral relationship continue to further strengthen and flourish.
Truong Tan Sang is the president of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.