Vietnam and the Philippines have a very outstanding relationship, one which will even be stronger, according to Vietnamese ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Ly Quoc Tuan.

During a recent visit to Eagle Broadcasting Corporation, the Vietnamese ambassador shared the unique relationship of Philippines and Vietnam – two member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations whose peoples had made a lot of sacrifices to achieve independence.

The relationship between Vietnam and the Philippines is marked by many milestones, noted the Vietnamese ambassador.

“This is very outstanding relationship between the two countries. And there are milestones. First, I would recall the 1978 visit of our Vietnam Prime Minister, Phạm Văn Đồng and in the visit they signed an agreement on cooperation of scientific and economic and technical fields such as trade, transports, communications, agriculture and natural resources.

Also in 1978, the two embassies were up in the two capitals. The second milestone, I think is in 1994, when President Fidel Ramos visited Vietnam. And he became the first Head of the State of the Philippines to visit Vietnam, ever since,” the ambassador said.

Another milestone was on November 17, 2015 when then President Benigno Aquino of the Philippines and Vietnam President Trương Tấn Sang signed an argument on setting up the strategic partnership.

“And I think most recently, we have the official visit of President Rodrigo Duterte, undertook last September 2016,” he said.

Ambassador Ly Quoc Tuan, who was assigned to the Philippines in February 2017, noted the experiences that Vietnam had in the course of struggling for independence and in the course of nation building.

Vietnam celebrated its National Day on September 2, commemorating the Vietnam Declaration of Independence from France on September 2, 1945.

Independence and international cooperation

The ambassador said that Vietnam learned that independence as well as international cooperation were both important for nation-building and development.

He said that the past blockades – both economic and political – that Vietnam suffered in the past had taught them the importance of cooperation with other countries.

“So we learned that we need cooperation with other countries, with other international institutions, with other people that work outside so that we can have the common cooperation in order to get benefits for the two sides and that would bring wealth to our people and to our country that help in the building of our country,” explained the Vietnamese ambassador.

Strong economic and political relations

Today, the relationship between the Philippines and Vietnam remain very strong, he said, both politically and economically.

There is a strategic partnership in place, and the two countries “have a lot of mechanisms” being done to develop “government-to-government” and “people to people” relations, as well as relations between the government agencies.

Another important aspect of the relations between the Philippines and Vietnam is that they are both members of the ASEAN.

Ambassador Ly Quoc Tuan said the two countries have a lot of common interests and supported each other on international issues of common concern.

Economic relations is also another strength.

Just last year, trade between the two countries, specifically the two-way import-export, is tagged at US$3.3 billion.

Vietnam sells rice, steel and cement to the Philippines. It is also supportive of President Duterte’s “Build, build, build” policy.

“Likewise, I think Vietnam also has a lot of things that we can import from the Philippines, like the agriculture, fertilizers, and finished home appliances,” the ambassador noted.

Education, ocean-maritime cooperation, agriculture, and defense and security cooperation are just among the areas where the two countries have relations that are going stronger.

People to people relations

The Vietnamese ambassador noted that Filipino teachers and singers are valued in Vietnam, and that there is a demand for Filipino nurses, bankers and managers.

“I think there are opportunities for Filipinos. We have a lot of demand from Vietnam for Filipino nurses, and people that both do banking and management for instance,” he said.

He said that “some Vietnamese universities have already invited English teachers from the Philippines, to come over and teach

Vietnamese students” noting how Filipinos are very good in English.

As for singing, the Vietnamese ambassador said that “Filipinos are the best singers.”

“In the society of Vietnam, people also like entertainment. We get very interested in listening to Filipino singers. Filipinos, all of them, they sing very well and beautifully,” he said.

An open Vietnam

Vietnam also hopes that there would also be more tourists from the Philippines visiting their county.

And since Filipinos also love food, the taste of genuine Vietnamese rice noodle soup, as well as spring rolls, would be a treat.

There is also no visa requirement, as both Vietnam and the Philippines are members of the ASEAN.

“Vietnam and the Philippines have bilateral visa exemptions which is valid for 21 days. So with your Filipino passports that you hold, you can travel in Vietnam for 21 days. Then after the 21 days, you need to get the Visa,” he explained.

Ambassador Ly Quoc Tuan said Vietnam is a very beautiful country that is, and will always be, a friend of the Philippines.

“We are open to everyone and Vietnam is a responsible member of the world community,” he stressed.