‘Special bond:’ Duterte seeks to sustain momentum of PH-Korea trade, defense cooperation

Published February 11, 2021, 10:39 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The Philippines regards the Republic of Korea as a “valued friend and partner” and intends to forge stronger economic and defense cooperative ties with the Asian neighbor, President Duterte said Wednesday.


The President talked about the “special bond” between the two countries when he met the new ambassador of Korea to the Philippines Kim In-Chul in Malacañang. The Korean ambassador joined four other envoys in presenting their credentials to the President at the Palace Wednesday, Feb. 10. 

“The Republic of Korea is a valued friend and partner. Over the past seven decades, our ties have grown from strength to greater strength,” the President told the Korean ambassador.

“We forged a special bond. We shared the struggle for and defense of freedom and democratic values during the Korean War. And together we continue to achieve more. Today, we remain committed to pursue shared aspirations for our peoples,” he said.

The President recognized that the two countries have “robust cooperation” in trade and investment, sustainable development, infrastructure works, and defense, adding such “momentum” must be sustained.

Duterte said his administration appreciates South Korea’s “exceptional commitment” to the country’s Build, Build, Build program. 

He also expressed gratitude for Korea’s support for the country’s defense modernization program.  “Today marks the delivery of the BRP Antonio Luna — that is the frigate. This demonstrates our nations’ mutual commitment to peace and security in our region,” he said.

Duterte also appreciated Korea’s solidarity with the Philippines in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Filipino people will never forget Korea’s timely assistance in the form of testing kits, PPEs, [masks] and rice,” he said. 

He also cited the Korean ambassador’s visit to the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda to help in the rehabilitation efforts. 

“This is a connection at a most personal level,” he told the envoy.  

“You were there during the most difficult moments of the Philippines’ history. I am confident you will do your utmost to ensure we build the best memories for our nations,” he added.