PRESIDENT Benigno S. Aquino III said he has expressed his gratitude to Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei and other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for agreeing to a stricter implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).
Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah is the chair of the 22nd ASEAN Summit this year.
In his arrival message at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal II, the President said among the top agenda of the ASEAN leaders is the importance of stronger cooperation among ASEAN member countries in settling territorial disputes in the region.
Aside from the DOC, the President said he pushed for the immediately crafting of a binding Code of Conduct of Parties with interest in the West Philippine Sea.
Also, in the bilateral meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, the President said the Vietnamese leader thanked him for the strengthening relations between the Philippines and Vietnam.
Both countries have been cooperating in areas of maritime development and expansive trade, he said. It is in the interest of the two countries to seize the opportunities that will ensure greater tie ups and progress.
The country’s economy and its tourism sector benefited in the positive dialogue that the country had with its counterparts during the 22nd ASEAN Summit, the President said. (PND)