PHL, Viet Nam ink 5-year action plan for stronger, deeper partnership

Maris Federez   •   March 11, 2019   •   1210

(L-R) Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and
Viet Nam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh | Photo credit: DFA

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines and Viet Nam, on Wednesday, adopted a new five-year action plan on specific commitments that the two nations will undertake to guarantee a bolstered cooperation on various areas of concern.

The five-year Plan of Action 2019 to 2024, signed between Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. of the Philippines and Viet Nam Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, is a result of the series of inter-agency consultations and thorough bilateral negotiations between the two nations in the past few years.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in a press briefing meeting that the plan specifically maps out commitments that the two countries “will undertake jointly in the political, security, economic, and cultural spheres, as well as in other various areas.”

It is expected to enhance bilateral relations, particularly on economy, and agreed to continuously increase the current $4.72 billion trade turnover with a target of 20 percent bilateral trade turnover annual growth in the succeeding years.

In the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Pham noted that the political and diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Viet Nam “have grown positively with a higher level of trust, as evident in the substance and outcomes of the frequent visits and contacts between our high-level leaders.”

Pham added that his country is ready for the further stepping up of the already thriving aspect on economic cooperation with the Philippines.

“Both our countries are among the fastest growing economies in Asia, and that is conducive to further promoting our trade and investment relations in the years ahead,” he said. 

The 9th meeting of the Philippines-Vietnam Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) which also marked the 45 years of Manila-Hanoi bilateral relations was held at Diamond Hotel, in Manila.

 Secretary Locsin also said, “as two of ASEAN’s most dynamic economies, and as two countries faced with similar challenges, we draw lessons not only from our gains and accomplishments but also from lessons in areas where we might have fallen short.”

Pham said, “During the discussion, we noted with delight that the political and diplomatic relations between two countries have grown positively with a higher level of trust, that was evident in the substance and outcomes of the frequent visits and contacts between our high-level leaders.”

Locsin added that the Philippines looks forward to Viet Nam’s hosting of the 10th Meeting of the JCBC in 2021.  – Maris Federez

Japan to ease entry for Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, NZ – Abe

UNTV News   •   June 19, 2020

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday (June 18) said his country would ease entry restrictions for people coming from Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam.

Speaking at a news conference on a day after the parliament session closed, Abe said Japan, which bans entry from more than 100 countries, will start coordinating discussion with the four countries.

Abe emphasised Japan needs a measure to restore people’s livelihoods and the economy hit by the new coronavirus pandemic. “We need a measure which controls the risk of infections with as few restrictions as possible, a measure which focuses more on protecting our jobs and livelihoods,” he said.

Abe also delivered an apology at the beginning of the news conference, over the arrests of former justice minister Katsuyuki Kawai and his wife, upper house lawmaker Anri Kawai, on suspicion of vote-buying. “I’m keenly aware of my responsibility as I once appointed him (Katsuyuki Kawai) Justice Minister,” Abe added.

Support for Abe, who had close ties to the ex-justice minister, has declined over what critics say is his clumsy handling of the coronavirus outbreak, a furore over efforts to extend top prosecutors’ retirement age, and questions about government programmes to support tourism and smaller companies. (Reuters)

(Production: Hideto Sakai)

Kindergartens, primary schools reopen as Vietnam eases virus restrictions

UNTV News   •   May 11, 2020

Kindergartens and primary schools in Vietnam took children’s temperatures at the gates when they re-opened on Monday (May 11) after a months-long closure over the coronavirus pandemic, following last week’s partial re-opening of other schools.

With just 288 infections and no deaths, the Southeast Asian nation has seen no community infections for nearly a month, putting it on course to resume activities sooner than most others in the region.

Medical staff could be seen taking the body temperatures of students and having them wash hands with sanitiser at the entrances to several kindergartens in Hanoi. Staff enforced safe distancing for student’ seating arrangements during class.

“The kids were being kept at home for three months and it stressed the adults out. It felt weird, very difficult to describe, because the kids were just doing everything in the house, while the adults were in the same situation, as everybody stayed in the same house…so we were looking forward to putting them back in school,” said Nguyen Thi Kim Dung, just after dropping off her granddaughter at a Hanoi kindergarten.

The school re-opening is Vietnam’s latest step in lifting virus curbs, although international commercial flights and dance clubs and karaoke bars remain banned.

Schools for older children reopened partially last week. (Reuters)

(Production: Thinh Nguyen, Minh Nguyen)

Vietnam lifts coronavirus quarantine in Hanoi commune

UNTV News   •   May 6, 2020

Vietnamese authorities lifted quarantine in a rural commune in Hanoi on Tuesday (5 May), 28 days after placing the area under isolation.

The Ha Loi commune, a floral and vegetable farming area, some 20 kilometres from downtown Hanoi, recorded Vietnam’s 243rd coronavirus patient on April 6, and was put in lockdown 2 days later.

As soon as barriers were removed at midnight, hundreds of residents in the area came out, chanting, cheering and waving flags to celebrate what they described a “victory and liberation over the Covid-19 outbreak”.

At a ceremony taking place at midnight on Wednesday (May 6), officials announced that all 2,700 households, with a population of 11,500, in the commune are free of the virus.

Khong Minh Tuan, Deputy Director of Hanoi’s Centre for Disease Control, hailed it “a great success”.

Despite ending the quarantine, Hanoi authorities still identified Ha Loi commune as a high-risk area. Residents have been asked to limit their movements until May 11, as well as practice social distancing, and wear face masks.

Even though Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s poorer nations, its efforts against the virus, praised at home, have ensured its tally of infections is lower than those of many neighbours.

Vietnam has registered a total of 271 coronavirus cases and has reported no deaths. Its proven infection rate is lower than any regional nations except Myanmar and Laos, where testing has been limited. Over 30,500 people have been quarantined, and 261,000 tests have been carried out so far. (Reuters)

(Production: Thinh Nguyen, Minh Nguyen)

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