Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand on Friday vowed to uphold the code of conduct in the South China Sea between Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China, which is expected to ease tensions stemming from territorial disputes in the area.
Prayut, who is here for a two-day official visit, met with President Aquino in Malacanang on Friday and exchanged views on Asean and China relations and the situation in the resource-rich South China Sea.
He also thanked the Philippines for supporting Thailand in its role as country coordinator of Asean-China relations. Singapore will take over the role from Thailand, which ended its three-year term last month.
I expressed appreciation to the Philippines for supporting Thailand in the role of country coordinator for Asean-China relations, and affirmed to cooperate with the Philippines and Asean countries in fully implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and promoting consultation in the [Code of] Conduct in the South China Sea, Prayut said following his expanded bilateral meeting with Aquino.
Under the 2002 declaration, the parties reaffirmed their commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and agreed to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability.
President Aquino congratulated Thailand for its successful term as country coordinator for Asean-China relations.
He also expressed gratitude for its support for the country’s efforts in the United Nations and in other international organizations.
Stronger defense relations
Thailand has truly been a reliable companion of the Philippines in promoting understanding, peace and stability not only within our community and region, but throughout the larger community of nations, he said.
Aquino also spoke of stronger defense relations between the Philippines and Thailand, citing the signing of the Terms of Reference for the Working Group of the Philippine Army and Royal Thai Army in April this year.
We are confident that this agreement will further strengthen our defense and security cooperation for the welfare of our peoples and of our brothers in Asean, he said.
He said Prayut had been instrumental in strengthening the partnership with the Armed Forces during his term as Chief of the Royal Thai Army, and continues to work with the Philippines in building defense relations that allow them to serve people in a more holistic manner.
The Philippines and Thailand also committed to work toward forging a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation to combat illegal drug trafficking.
As part of our efforts, coordinated operations between Philippine and Thai agencies will be conducted, and through this process, we look forward to sharing information between our relevant law enforcement agencies, said Aquino.
Partnership for Prosperity
Meanwhile, Prayut also reaffirmed his commitment to fully cooperate with President Aquino in enhancing the Partnership for Prosperity between Thailand and the Philippines.
He congratulated Aquino and the Philippine government for reviving the country’s economy and its continued high growth for the past five years.
He noted that the Philippines has been praised in the international community as the new rising star in the region.
I am confident that the vision laid by President Aquino will serve as an important foundation in guiding the Philippines toward greater prosperity in the future, he said.