• PH, Thailand sign 3 agreements

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    The Philippines and Thailand on Tuesday signed agreements on science and technology, tourism and agriculture as President Rodrigo Duterte began his three-day official visit to Bangkok.

    Duterte and his official delegation arrived in Bangkok on Monday night on a chartered Philippine Airlines flight, after a two-day state visit in Myanmar.

    He was welcomed by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the Thailand Government House, where both leaders discussed issues of mutual concerns in politics, economy, agriculture, energy, education, and defense cooperation.

    The two leaders then witnessed the signing of the three agreements for a five-year program for tourism cooperation from 2017 to 2022, an implementing arrangement on cooperation between Thailand’s Department of Livestock Development and the Philippine Carabao Center and another deal on science and technology.

    In a joint press statement with Prayut, Duterte thanked the Prime Minister for inviting him, saying that “Thai hospitality is exceptional.”

    “I’m glad to make this official visit to finally meet the Prime Minister here in Bangkok.

    Today is a new chapter and the shared history between our nations and peoples. We affirm a long-standing friendship, renewed common commitment to bring our countries and peoples closer in greater cooperation,” Duterte said.

    “With diplomatic relations for 67 years, we have proven record of collaboration. We can and should rightfully strive to achieve more. As countries facing similar challenges and as brothers in Asean, we have the joint stake in keeping our relations always vibrant, always strong, and always geared towards upholding the greater and collective interests of our countries and our regions,” he added.

    Duterte said his meeting with Prayut was “productive and fruitful.”

    “Issues of common concerns are addressed and we continue to build on the commitments that we have made. We underscore the importance of sustaining the growth and development. We have so far achieved, in this regard, we stressed the need to address traditional and emerging threats to our collective security and stability. These includes transnational crimes such as terrorism and violent extremism, piracy at the sea, as well as the trafficking of persons and illicit drugs,” he said.

    The President said he and the Thai prime minister “vowed to do more, or utmost, to strengthen cooperation in bilateral, regional, and international levels to effectively address this menace to our society.”

    “We stress the importance of our defense cooperation to achieve these goals and look forward to the inaugural joint committee on military cooperation this year. Both sides emphasized the need to sustain the economic advancement we thus have far achieved,” Duterte said.

    The President’s visit to Thailand caps his introductory visits to member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

    CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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