Statement of President Aquino before departure for Vietnam and the 17th ASEAN Summit

President of the Philippines
Before leaving for his State Visit to Vietnam, and for the 17th ASEAN Summit

[October 26, 2010, Ninoy Aquino International Airport]

Today, I leave for Vietnam for my first state visit and to attend the 17th ASEAN summit.  While in Vietnam, I will also hold meetings with other heads of states and governments. Part of the duties of a president is to maintain and enhance relations with other countries, particularly our neighbors in the ASEAN region. With this in mind, I look forward to meeting with President Nguyen Minh Triet, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, and Secretary General Nong Duc Manh, and discussing with them ways to better improve our already dynamic bilateral relations.

Vietnam has been a friend and a strategic partner to the Philippines for the past 34 years. Our bilateral ties, established in 1976, have consistently grown to encompass not just politics, but more importantly, trade and investments, education, defense, fisheries, maritime and ocean affairs, and environmental concerns, among others. Our bilateral trade, amounting to US$1.51 billion in the first half of this year, is evidence of the dynamic economic ties between our two countries.

My visit reinforces the Philippines’ recognition of Vietnam’s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2010, and affirms the complex and diverse ties that bind the Philippines with Vietnam.

During my visit, President Triet and I will witness the signing of four agreements, which will further enhance our relations in higher education, defense and maritime affairs.

In addition, I will also be meeting with Filipino and Vietnamese businessmen, to encourage them to invest more in the Philippines. I will also be meeting members of the 3,500 Filipinos working and residing in Vietnam.

As I did in my recent visit to the United States, I intend to send the message loud and clear to our friends overseas that the Philippines is once again open for business, as a responsible and dynamic member of the community of nations.

Thank you and good morning.