Marcos eyes PH-Vietnam agreement amid maritime disputes

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 12) — Talks between the Philippines and Vietnam are set to begin in pursuit of an agreement on recent maritime disputes, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Thursday.

The president made the statement after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported Vietnamese vessels were previously seen in Sabina and Ayungin Shoals with 20 other Chinese vessels.

He said he discussed the matter with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and pitched that talks be initiated to reach an agreement and avoid any problems.

Nag-usap kami ng Prime Minister. We have to find a way," Marcos told reporters. "Sabi ko huwag ‘yung ganito na nag-a-ano tayo, mag-usap tayo nang mabuti."

“That’s why I have asked our foreign ministers, ating Foreign Secretary and then the Foreign Minister of Vietnam to begin developing the talks so that we can have an agreement na hindi na siguro magkaproblema ng mga ganyang klase,” he added.

[Translation: I talked with the prime minister. We have to find a way. I said it should not be like this, we should talk about it properly. That’s why I have asked our foreign ministers, our foreign affairs secretary and then the foreign minister of Vietnam to begin developing the talks so that we can have an agreement and won’t have any problems.]

The chief executive earlier pushed for all parties concerned to follow the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and prevent the South China Sea from becoming a "nexus for armed conflict." 

He directed the Department of Foreign Affairs and the PCG to map out the Philippines’ fishing ground in the West Philippine Sea which will later on be presented to China.