MANILA — Malacanang on Saturday said the issue on the disputed West Philippine Sea (WPS) is expected to be discussed during the visit of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in the country to attend the 23rd World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia slated May 21 to 23.
Aside from Prime Minister Nguyen, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Myanmar vice-president U Nyan Tun as well as 10 heads of economies and 1,000 delegates from 40 countries will also be attending the WEF.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that apart from the WEF, the Vietnamese Prime Minister is also scheduled to have a separate meeting with Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III.
Valte did not specify when or where the meeting will take place but assured that the WPS was certainly one of the points to be brought up for discussion.
She said that like the Philippines, China’s aggressive action on territorial claims, has also been a current issue in Vietnam.
Vietnam and China are currently locked in a maritime standoff with both sides reportedly deploying ships after China’s state-run oil company went drilling for oil in contested waters near the Paracel Islands.
The Paracel Islands is part of the South China Sea within Vietnam’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone. Vietnam has accused China of using water cannon and ramming its ships during confrontations over the rig.
Mr. Dung said the planting of the rig by state-run oil company “gravely violated” the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
Both the Philippines and Vietnam have, however, maintained their stand on resolving conflict through “peaceful” means.