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Marcos talks to Pham about Vietnamese vessels in PH EEZ

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said Thursday that the Philippine government and the Vietnamese government would begin talks as Vietnamese vessels were also seen within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

According to Marcos, he discussed the matter with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. He said he told the Vietnamese leader that an agreement should be made to avoid any problems.

"Nag-usap kami ng Prime Minister. We have to find a way; sabi ko huwag ‘yung ganito na nag-aano tayo, magusap tayo nang mabuti and that’s why I’ve asked our foreign ministers, ang ating Foreign Secretary and the Foreign Minister of Vietnam, to begin develop the talks so we can have an agreement na hindi na siguro magkaproblema nang ganyang klase," Marcos said in an interview.

"Dahil hindi naman contentiously, it’s something we never have to worry before, ngayon lang. Kailangan habang maaga, pagusapan na natin, makahanap na tayo ng sarili nating usapan para di magkagulo at magka incident na nangyayari sa atin ngayon," he added.

In March, reports said that aside from Chinese vessels, Vietnamese vessels were also spotted from March 16 to 21 in waters around Sabina and Ayungin Shoals, and Pag-asa Island in Palawan.

The PCG had said it conducted a maritime patrol mission to the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) where several foreign-flagged vessels were sighted— including China Coast Guard Vessels (CCGVs) and a People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN) Type 056A Jiangdao II Class Missile Corvette.

Marcos earlier renewed his call for the early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea during the 42nd ASEAN Summit, saying that the region should not be a "nexus" for armed conflict.

He had expressed his commitment to the enforcement of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

Earlier, Marcos also tasked the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Coast Guard to identify and create a map of the Philippines’ fishing grounds in the West Philippine Sea.

When asked about these fishing grounds, Marcos said he was referring to the areas "where fishermen used to fish and are being blockaded from fishing." —NB/BM, GMA Integrated News