His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
At the State Banquet hosted by His Excellency Nguyen Minh Triet, President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam
[October 26, 2010, Government Guest House, Hanoi, Vietnam]
My very good friend, President Nguyen Minh Triet,
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Gia Khiêm,
Honorable Ministers and Officials of the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,
Honorable Members of the Philippine Delegation,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Mr. President, allow me to thank you for your gracious invitation to me, to undertake this State Visit, the first of my presidency. The warm welcome accorded to me and to the entire Philippine Delegation by the Vietnamese people and government is a clear sign of the close relations between our two nations.
It is a pleasure to be here, tonight, to express our best wishes to the government of Vietnam and the Vietnamese people as you undertake the Chairmanship of ASEAN. In regional unity, we have the means to sustain economic growth, advance our shared development agenda, and promote regional peace and stability.
Tonight is also a testament to our mutual commitment to find additional means and areas of cooperation that will benefit the Filipino and Vietnamese people.
The vibrant friendship between our two nations has already found expression in diverse areas, particularly in trade, fisheries, meteorology and hydrography, sports, and finance. With the signing of four more Agreements, our respective governments are tangibly strengthening cooperation in higher education, defense, and maritime affairs.
Next year, we will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Vietnam. It will be an excellent occasion for cultural exchanges and people-to-people activities to commemorate our friendship.
As the Philippines takes the first steps toward a more transparent, responsive, and economically competitive government, be assured, Excellency, that Vietnam remains an important partner of the Philippines. Indeed, our relationship will continue to prosper under my administration.
At this juncture, may I therefore invite all of you to join me in a toast:
- To the good health and success of President Nguyen Minh Triet and the people of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam;
- To a people-oriented ASEAN Community by 2015; and,
- To the continuing friendship between the governments and peoples of the Philippines and Vietnam.