Byline: ALBERTO G. ROMULO Secretary of Foreign Affairs
WE are gathered today to celebrate an enduring friendship between two peoples and two countries.
It is a friendship firmly grounded on shared aspirations for peace and prosperity, and borne out of respect, trust, and confidence.
Tonight we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of the Philippines and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and tonight, we also celebrate an ever-expanding friendship that predates 30 years of formal interaction between sovereign states.
For in truth, the Philippines and Vietnam's friendship is forged out of centuries-old interaction, shared experiences and a common regional history.
Even before the advent of Western colonization in the region, our peoples were in constant contact with each other and with our Southeast Asian neighbors.
Vibrant trade through searoutes was sustained even when the Philippines was colonized by Spain. In fact, Philippines ships docked in the old Vietnamese port town of Hoi An engaging in the highly-profitable trade in high-grade silk, porcelain, mother of pearl and other precious cargo.
And as both our countries' gained independence and charted our own destinies, we reaffirmed the indelible ties that bind us.
Vietnam's reunification and sovereignty in 1975 was immediately recognized by the Philippines.
Thirty years ago to the day, then Philippine Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos P. Romulo and Vietnamese Vice Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs Phan Hien signed the Joint CommuniquA[c] establishing formal diplomatic relations between our countries.
Since then, we have seen our relationship broaden, strengthen, and flourish with the times to become the multifaceted partnership that it is today. …