Vietnam and the Philippines Sign Deals on South China Sea Security

Vietnam and the Philippines Sign Deals on South China Sea Security

Vietnam and the Philippines have signed an agreement to enhance cooperation in safeguarding the South China Sea to prevent untoward incidents in the region.

The announcement came during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s state visit to Hanoi, underscoring the strategic importance of collaboration amid escalating tensions. With China laying claim to nearly all of the $3 trillion in annual shipborne trade passing through the South China Sea, both Southeast Asian nations find themselves in competition over vital maritime territories.

The bilateral agreement, consisting of two memoranda of understanding on security, addresses crucial areas such as “incident prevention in the South China Sea” and “maritime cooperation” among coastguards. The latest agreement between Vietnam and the Philippines may provoke Beijing, given its extensive deployment of coastguard fleets throughout the South China Sea to enforce its territorial claims. However, details of the agreement reached in Hanoi have not been revealed.

Marcos stressed Vietnam’s role as the Philippines’ sole strategic partner in Southeast Asia ahead of his meeting with Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong. He highlighted the foundation of their relationship, emphasising maritime cooperation.

Additionally, Vietnam, one of the world’s leading exporters of rice, has solidified agreements on rice trade and agricultural cooperation with the Philippines, a key importer of the crop.