DISPUTES in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) involving China are expected to be discussed by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and President Benigno Aquino 3rd next week.
Dung will be in Manila for the 23rd World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia which will be held in Makati City from May 21 to 23.
Also attending are Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Myanmar Vice President U Nyan Tun as well as 10 heads of economies and 1,000 delegates from 40 countries.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the Vietnamese prime minister will have a separate meeting with Aquino, and the disputes in the West Philippine Sea will certainly be one of the issues that will be taken up.
Vietnam and China are 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 Paracels are within Vietnam’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone. Vietnam has accused China of using water cannons and ramming its ships during confrontations over the rig.
The Philippines meanwhile has protested increasing Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea, the most recent being the building of what appears to be an airstrip on Mabini Shoal.
The Philippines and Vietnam have maintained their stand to resolve the row through “peaceful” means.
A contingent of 6,000 policemen will be deployed at the WEF for security.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Alan Purisima assigned the Deputy Chief for Operations, Police Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, to head the National Task Force “WEF”.
Espina will be assisted by Director Ricardo Marquez.
“We are putting our best foot forward in this international event as the country welcomes the prospect of sharing the strides we have made in restoring integrity in our institutions and building a society that is dynamic, inclusive, and equitably progressive,” Espina said.