PM's Philippines visit of 'great significance', says Zambry

MANILA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s two-day official visit to the Philippines beginning Wednesday (March 1) will be of ‘great significance’ and highlights the importance of bilateral ties between the two neighbouring countries, says Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir (pic).

Anwar will be the first government leader to visit the Philippines since Ferdinand Marcos Jr was elected as the country’s 17th president in June last year, and is expected to discuss various important issues, including commerce, investment, economics and security, with the Philippines president during his inaugural visit since becoming Malaysia’s 10th prime minister.

The current trade relations between both countries were good and free of disputes, although there is some trade imbalance, Zambry told Malaysian reporters at a media conference here on Tuesday (Feb 28).

Anwar and Marcos will also talk about regional issues, especially those relating to the South China Sea, with the hopes that the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) would serve as the best catalyst to tackle and resolve them.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Ewon Benedick, along with senior officers from Wisma Putra and other related agencies will accompany the Prime Minister during his visit.

Upon his arrival in Manila on Wednesday, Anwar will pay a courtesy call to President Marcos at Malacanang Palace before the delegations from both countries conduct meetings. The first day will end with a joint media conference by both leaders.

On the second day, the prime minister is scheduled to hold a general talk entitled "30 Years after Asia’s Rising Wave: Strategic Lessons for Asean” at the University of the Philippines, its national university established in 1908.

He will also receive an honorary doctorate from the university’s senate and also meet with Malaysians in the Philippines.

The Philippines is the fifth Asean country Anwar has visited as Prime Minister, following his visits to Indonesia, Singapura, Brunei and Thailand. - Bernama

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