You are currently viewing Philippines, South Korea ties reaching ‘new maturity,’ Duterte says

Philippines, South Korea ties reaching ‘new maturity,’ Duterte says

MANILA, Philippines — The relationship between the Philippines and South Korea is reaching a “new maturity,” President Rodrigo Duterte said, as he cited the gains of what he described as a “meaningful and productive” three-day official visit to Seoul.

Duterte said the Philippines is writing “a new chapter of cooperation” in its shared history with South Korea, which he called “a true friend.”

“Indeed, the Republic of Korea is a true friend of the Philippines. And President Moon (Jae-in) an even closer ally. Our friendship is reaching a new maturity at even closer as deep and abiding friends,” Duterte said upon his arrival from South Korea Tuesday night.

“It (friendship) is reaching on the level of mutual respect for each other, and our relations will only grow stronger in the years to come,” he added.

Duterte said his meeting with Moon was “very warm, open and enriching as things should be between special friends and long-standing partners.”

“President Moon and I committed to significantly strengthen our partnership, especially in the areas of defense and security, trade and investments, infrastructure development, and protection of our nationals,” the president said.

Duterte said he commended Moon for his commitment to strengthening the foundations of security and stability in the region. He also expressed “full support” for the eventual denuclearization in the Korean peninsula.

“President Moon and I both reaffirmed the need to work closer together to address traditional and emerging threats, again (including) terrorism, transnational crimes and piracy at sea,” the Philippine leader said.

“To do this, we will count on South Korea as a steady partner in modernizing our key assets in defense, security and law enforcement.”

Duterte and Moon’s meeting happened last Monday, eight days before the historic meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and United States President Donald Trump in Singapore. The two leaders will discuss North Korea’s denuclearization program, which has been applauded by world leaders and international groups.

“We both also agreed to ramp up cooperation in the regional and international fora, especially in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), to advance security, stability and the rule of law,” Duterte said.

Investment, employment deals inked

South Korea has also offered the Philippines $1 billion in official development assistance to support its infrastructure program and rehabilitation efforts in war-ravaged Marawi.

“We have the money and we have the pace and we just cannot continue and walk overnight to make it happen tomorrow. As we go forward, there should be enough time given also to government to make its effort bear its fruit,” Duterte said.

“There is no problem about the commitment… Dahan-dahan lang muna tayo (we have to be cautious) because…donors are everywhere and even South Korea is still interested to help us. But you know, we can only do so much. We cannot do it all the time and every time so there has to be an allowance of a timeline where we can complete the rehabilitation.”

The president also highlighted the government-to-government and business deals signed during his visit.

The Philippines and South Korea inked government-to-government agreements on science and technology, infrastructure development, renewable energy deployment, trade and economic relations, transportation, forestry and communications, he added.

Also signed were more than 20 agreements between Philippine and South Korean firms that are expected to generate about $4.8 billion in investments and create as much as 25,000 jobs.

Duterte also met with members of the Filipino community and assured them that the government would continue to advance their interests, protect their well-being and uphold their rights.

Duterte said he is looking forward to the 70th anniversary of the Philippines-South Korea relations next year.

“We will work together to make this occasion memorable,” he said.

The Philippines and South Korea established diplomatic ties on March 3, 1949. The Philippines also deployed troops to the Korean Peninsula in the 1950s to fight alongside South Korean forces during the Korean War. — Alexis Romero

Source : philstar