Vietnam has extended its invitation for President Rodrigo Duterte to visit the country later this year or in 2020, Malacañang said Thursday. Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on Wednesday paid a courtesy call on Duterte at the presidential palace during which he conveyed Hanoi’s invitation for Duterte to make another visit. Duterte first visited Vietnam in September 2016. He had a meeting with the late Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang which resulted in an agreement for both countries to strengthen cooperation on trade, promote peace and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, and ensure the safety and security of fishermen from both countries, as well as to solve amicably the unexpected incidents at sea. A year later, Duterte traveled to Danang, Vietnam to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. “The Deputy Prime Minister [Minh] also congratulated the President for the developments in the Philippines as well as the country’s pivotal role in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),” Malacañang said. Accompanying Minh were Vietnam’s Ambassador to the Philippines Ly Quoc Tuan; Director General of the Department of Southeast Asia -South Asia-South Pacific, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Tat Thanh; Director General of the Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pham Quang Hieu; and Director General of the National Commission on Border Affairs, Maritime Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Manh Dong. Philippine government officials present were Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., and Philippine Ambassador to Vietnam Noel Servigon. Duterte also received Kingdom of Bahrain’s First Deputy President of the Supreme Council for Youth Sports Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa on Wednesday. According to the Palace, Sheikh Khalid’s visit to the Philippines signified “improvement on the level of bilateral relations between the Philippines and Kingdom of Bahrain.” “If you remember, I said that we stand by you and we will be with you in case you need us. And again, let me reiterate our deep sense of camaraderie with our people. Also for the humane treatment given to our citizens. Thank you very much,” Duterte told Sheikh Khalid during the meeting.
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