By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte received Wednesday afternoon the credentials of of the new ambassadors of South Korea, Tanzania, and Serbia.
Malacañang, in a statement, said the President met with new South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man and his wife Jang Soo-kyung. Han previously served as South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General for International Economic Affairs.
Han has more than 30 years of experience in representing Korea in the areas of policy planning, trade issues, and public relations. He has also held executive positions in the Korean Embassy in the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, and Algeria.
Duterte’s meeting with Han in the Palace Wednesday came after Malacañang announced that the President might be visiting South Korea this year.
South Korea is one of the four countries Duterte may visit based on plans being discussed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). The other three countries are India, Australia, and Israel.
Earlier this week, Malacañang has confirmed that President Duterte will attend the India-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Commemorative Summit on January 24 to 25.
“I think these are planned visits. So far it’s being discussed between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the countries that have invited the President,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said early this month.
“These visits, of course, will have very specific goals and part of a state visit or working visit is always to promote trade and investments as far as the Philippines is concerned,” he added.
Aside from meeting with Han, the President also accepted the credentials of Tanzania’s new Ambassador to the Philippines, Ramadhani Kitwana-Dau who previously held the same position in Malaysia.
According to the Palace, Dau was also Tanzania’s National Social Security Fund director general.
Duterte also welcomed Serbia’s new envoy to the Philippines Slobodan Marinkovic who previously served as Ambassador to Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, and Singapore.
The former medical professor in Bosnia and Herzegovina also served as the Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia to the ASEAN.
Malacañang said that all three new envoys expressed their positive outlook towards the Philippines and aim to forge stronger ties with the Philippine government.
Duterte, on the other hand, said South Korea, Tanzania and Serbia are welcomed as good allies of the country and noted that the Philippines is open to mutual and good working bilateral relations with the three countries.
Pinnacle Club of ASEAN
After receiving the credentials of the three new envoys, Duterte also welcomed in the Palace retired defense chiefs from neighboring Asian countries.
The meeting came months after Duterte officially turned over the ASEAN chairmanship to Singapore.
According to Malacañang, the President welcomed the retired officials from Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, Brunei, and Philippines, who are all members of the Pinnacle Club of ASEAN.
Malacañang said Duterte acknowledged the wisdom of the members of ASEAN’s most exclusive club, noting their contributions that enriched the 50-year-old regional bloc.
“I’d like to welcome you all. It’s an honor to be in the midst of people who have a strong knowledge of what is the condition of our world today,” Duterte reportedly told the Pinnacle Club of ASEAN.
“The Chief Executive noted that he has seen how the retired officials worked and how they have contributed to the welfare of ASEAN,” Malacañang said in a statement.
The Pinnacle Club of ASEAN, formalized in 2014, is an informal grouping of retired defense chiefs and service chiefs in Southeast Asia.
It aims to provide a social platform for the gathering of retired defense chiefs and other influential officials related to the security and defense of the region.
The Club and its network of members can also serve to promote the good relations in Southeast Asia through the various activities organized by the Secretariat, Stratagem Group.
With the President during the meeting with the Pinnacle Club of ASEAN were Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Interior officer-in-charge Eduardo Año, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, among others