Vietnam and the Phillipines are looking to beef up information and intelligence exchange with one another to better counter terrorism and transnational crime. The Philippines’ national security advisor Eduardo Ano addressed the matter with Vietnam’s minister of public security (MPS) To Lam during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s visit to the Vietnamese capital on Jan 29. It was the first instance of such a meeting taking place between the National Security Council (NSC) and MPS.
A press release from the NSC stated that Ano proposed the sharing and exchange of information and intelligence as an area where co-operation would be greatly improved, citing the considerable threat to global security posed by international and local terrorist entities. To start, Ano suggested the prospect of exchanging views on anti-terror legislation of respective countries and working together on simulated exercises to determine the best practices in the application of legal measures vis-a-vis extra-territoriality and border issues. Aside from that, Ano also called for stronger co-operation on cybersecurity, specifically capacity building and protection of digital infrastructure, platforms, data and networks.
“On combating transnational crimes – such as people smuggling, human trafficking, robbery at sea, hijacking and kidnap for ransom, wildlife trafficking, firearms trafficking and smuggling of illicit goods – Ano said that the Philippines and Vietnam may pursue co-operation to strengthen border controls and security measures, including port security in strategic locations,” the NSC added.
Ano also expressed his hopes for a bilateral memorandum of understanding for the provision of mutual logistic support as a way for both countries to mutually advance their respective defence and security capabilities and invited Vietnam to actively participate in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Coast Guards Forum that the Philippines will host later this year. Vietnam also thought to utilise intelligence cooperation as a platform to share information and conduct mutual consultations over sensitive issues unsuited to convey through official channels. shp/adj/dl (Pix:Philippines National Security Council)