Until the past five years, the Philippines and Vietnam had only minimal strategic ties, with the exception of cooperation through ASEAN initiatives on a number of non-traditional security issues. The two countries had very different leadership styles— the Philippines is a vibrant democracy with one of the freest media markets in the world, while Vietnam remains ruled by a very opaque party— and Hanoi has remained cautious to deviate from its strategy to preserve close relations with China with increasingly close relations with the United States. In contrast, despite a very mixed historical relationship with the United States, the Philippines has been (and is) an ally of the United States and one of Washington`s closest partners in Southeast Asia. Vietnam and the Philippines have not held joint military exercises, have rarely had high-level bilateral interactions between senior political and military officials, and have had modest foreign exchange trade. Among the first problems that could be tested in the relations between the two countries were the repatriation of 14 Filipinos and 10 Vietnamese families who were still in the city of Hồ Chí Minh, attempts by Vietnamese nationals to enter the Philippines illegally pretending to be members of Filipino families, and the participation of Filipinos in the black market was received by the Embassy of the Philippines. These problems hampered relations until the early 1980s.  On July 9, 1976, Phan Hien, Vietnam`s Deputy Foreign Minister, arrived in Manila to discuss the formal establishment of relations between the two countries. On 12 July 7, 1976, formal relations were finally established with the Philippines, the fourth ASEAN country to have established relations with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam after Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. The Philippines and Vietnam opened their respective embassies in 1978.   “The concept of strategic partnership is often a misunderstood concept, as it is equated with a security agreement between two states that is addressed to certain parties or states. This is indeed an increase in bilateral exchanges between two States, which creates space for bilateral strategic dialogue mechanisms implemented at ministerial level. It is comprehensive and encompasses economic, functional and socio-cultural cooperation. Other ASEAN treaties are being negotiated, including with Japan, which already has a series of large-scale economic partnerships, while South Korea already has a free trade agreement. Both are similar to the above – the more than 90% reduction in all goods traded between ASEAN and these countries.
Areas of cooperation that may be included in the Strategic Partnership Agreement include: agriculture, culture, diplomacy, economy, education, finance, investment, maritime safety, protection of the marine environment, oil spill research, people-to-people exchanges, political affairs, security, search and rescue, tourism and trade. . . .