PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte sought to deepen partnership with Myanmar and Thailand in his state visits there.
Duterte, in his departure statement prior to his flight for his official visits to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and the Kingdom of Thailand on March 19 to 22, said he will underscore commitment and partnerships with both countries.
Duterte said these official visits are part of the final leg of his introductory trips to his colleagues and is timely as Philippines prepares to host the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit and related meetings in Manila this April.
“As developing countries with similar historic experiences and facing the same challenges, we can use the synergies of our interests as basis for strengthened cooperation. This is true in combating traditional and emerging transnational crimes, including terrorism and violent extremism, piracy and the illicit drug trade,” Duterte said.
Duterte said bilateral trade and investment will also be key areas of discussion during his visit.
“We can encourage collaboration in mutually beneficial sectors of growth, including in pharmaceuticals and food and beverage,” he said.
Duterte said he looks forward to meeting President U Htin Kyaw, State Counselor and Foreign Minister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and Commander-in-Chief of Defense Senior General Min Aung Hlaing in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
From Myanmar, Duterte will proceed to Bangkok, Thailand to renew the Philippines’ commitment to further enhance the relations of both countries.
“There is so much at stake in relations. We have to move forward together on shared interests in securing security and stability in the region as we seek to sustain growth and development for our peoples,” Duterte said.
Duterte looked forward to meeting Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to discuss enhanced cooperation in strengthening defense.
The President also said that upon his state visits, he will also seize opportunity to meet Overseas Filipino Workers who have been partners for reform and positive change in our government.
“I will thank them for their support and apprise them of developments in our country,” he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 20, 2017.
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