PRRD to seek stronger economic defense ties with South Korea

Published June 3, 2018, 10:44 AM

by Patrick Garcia

By Genalyn Kabiling

SEOUL – On his first official visit to South Korea, President Duterte is determined to pursue stronger economic and defense cooperation with the Asian neighbor as well as the safety and protection of nationals from both countries.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte strikes his signature pose with Sec. Bong Go of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, former Senator Manuel Villar, and Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol while on board the Philippine Airlines commercial flight PR466 bound for the Republic of Korea where he is scheduled for a three-day official visit on early Sunday morning, June 3, 2018. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/MANILA BULLETIN
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte strikes his signature pose with Sec. Bong Go of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, former Senator Manuel Villar, and Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol while on board the Philippine Airlines commercial flight PR466 bound for the Republic of Korea where he is scheduled for a three-day official visit on early Sunday morning, June 3, 2018. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/MANILA BULLETIN

The President will seek to enhance bilateral cooperation on infrastructure development, defense and security, agriculture, tourism, among others, when he meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Blue House on Monday, according to Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Raul Hernandez.

Duterte, accompanied by several Cabinet members, arrived in Seoul Sunday morning for a three-day visit upon the invitation of President Moon.

“President Duterte and President Moon will discuss issues of mutual importance to the Philippines and to South Korea, especially those that will enhance deeper friendship and stronger cooperation,” Hernandez said during a media interview here.

“I anticipate that they will discuss on how to further enhance our engagement in the political sphere as well as to discuss how to further improve our bilateral relations and investments, and also strengthen further our already robust cooperation in the field of defense and security,” he added.

Hernandez cited that South Korea is one of the country’s “foremost defense and security partners,” citing that the Asian neighbor has been instrumental in the government’s effort to modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“Some of our newest defense equipment, like for example the FA-50 fighter jets, were procured from South Korea so we look forward to further enhancing this close cooperation in the years to come,” he said.

He said the President is scheduled to inspect some defense equipment in one of the Korean bases during his visit here.

Apart from intensifying defense cooperation, Duterte will also discuss with Moon “how to boost our mutual economic development through investment in infrastructure,” Hernandez said.

“Of course, the Build, Build, Build project is one of the important projects that we have during the Duterte administration, and also, investments in agriculture, in tourism, in information and communication technology, and other investments, among others,” he said.

The safety and protection of tourists and workers in both countries will also be high on the President’s agenda in his meeting with his South Korean counterpart.

“The two leaders will also talk about how to ensure the interest and well-being of the Filipinos here in Korea, and also about the safety and security of the Filipinos in South Korea, and the safety and security of Korean people in the Philippines,” Hernandez said.

He said two leaders are also expected to discuss the “hot issues” about the Korean peninsula and other regional concerns.

After the meeting, the two leaders will witness the signing of four bilateral accords aimed at strengthening transport safety, technological development, and trade cooperation between the Philippines and South Korea.

The agreements include a loan agreement to increase the capacity and efficiency of the new Cebu international container project, according to Hernandez.

“This will boost the economic development of Cebu and the surrounding regions by providing jobs to the residents and also it will inject vigor to the Philippine economy because of — because through it there will be unimpeded flow of goods and services in the Visayas region,” he said.

A memorandum of understanding will also be signed to bolster Philippine-South Korea cooperation in the transport sector. “MOU is meant to enhance joint participation in construction projects in either country or in third countries, facilitation of enhancement of transport safety, security, and environmental protection and facilitation of the provision of transport-related human resources, equipment, and materials,” he said.

An agreement on scientific and technological cooperation between Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Science and Information Communication Technology of Korea will also inked during the President’s visit.

“This of course will deepen scientific and technological cooperation at the experts level in many areas including but not limited to advanced material sources. We are talking here of biotechnology, nanotechnology, data analysis, artificial intelligence, space technology, innovation policy, metrology,” he said.

“So in short, this agreement will greatly help the scientific and technological development of the Philippines,” he added.

Also scheduled to be signed is a memorandum of understanding on trade and economic cooperation between Department of Trade and Industry and the Korean Ministry of Knowledge and Economy.

“This will establish the joint commission of trade and economic cooperation and this will be held at the vice ministerial level to discuss engagements in trade and investment industry and industrial science and technology, among other areas of cooperation,” Hernandez said.

The President’s visit to South Korea comes a year before the two countries mark the 70th anniversary of bilateral relations.

“I think the two leaders will discuss preparation in anticipation of this very important event,” Hernandez said.

He noted that South Korea remains one of the country’s “strongest friends and partners in the region and our bilateral relations spanning 69 years.”

“Our relationship encompasses in depth cooperation in many fields, including politics, trade and investment, security and defense, labor development, agriculture, people-to-people relations among others. And we foresee this cooperation will only get stronger and deeper,” he said.

 
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