HANOI, Vietnam – After making a splash in Laos during the ASEAN Forum and packing the crowds in in Indonesia, this historic city is next in line for President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte was invited to Vietnam by Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang.
It was relayed to him by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc when they met on the sidelines in Vientiane during the Asean Summit earlier this month.
The two leaders hit it off instantly and the meeting which lasted between 15 to 20 minutes resulted in Duterte’s commitment to visit Vietnam.
Duterte’s visit is slated on Sept. 28-29.
“The event is expected to mark a significant milestone in the foreign affairs of the two nations this year,” reported Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre News.
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella earlier disclosed that Vietnam was encouraging the Philippines and “invest more, and have more trade”.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez was set to join Duterte’s party.
Meanwhile Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Martin Marfori Andanar
revealed that the contested South China Sea will be discussed during the visit.
Since Vietnam is also one of the claimants of some parts of the sea, Andanar is confident that this will be discussed.
Duterte’s visit to Hanoi comes after he has indicated a more independent stance for the Philippines after its long association with the United States.
Stung by America, the United Nations and lately the European Union’s interference
into Philippine affairs when they meddled into his anti-drug war, Duterte is looking elsewhere.
The timing of the visit to Hanoi is significant considering that Vietnam also traces a long history of struggle against American intervention.
With Duterte’s visit, a new age looms in the relationship between the two countries.