PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte on Sunday, June 3, vowed to bring the cooperation between the Philippines and South Korea “to a whole new level” by strengthening their partnership in defense and commerce.
“In my talks with [South Korean] President Moon Jae-in Moon, I will explore ways to bring cooperation to a whole new level. This will be based on respect for sovereign equality and for the democratic ideals that we both fought hard to secure. I will emphasize the importance of strengthening our partnership in defense and security, trade and investments, and political cooperation,” Mr. Duterte said in his departure speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.
Upon his arrival in Seoul, the President was welcomed by Philippine Ambassador to the Republic of Korea Raul S. Hernandez, according to the Presidential News Desk (PND).
Mr. Duterte’s three-day official visit, according to the PND, “will kick off with his meeting with the Filipino community at the Convention Hall of the Grand Hilton Hotel and Convention Center on Sunday afternoon.”
In his speech, the Philippine leader said he will “thank them for their sacrifice for the sake of their families and for their contributions to our nation’s socio-economic development.”
“I will renew this pledge to them and to you tonight: our present and future efforts to seek a reinvigorated partnership with South Korea — and indeed with all other countries — shall always be grounded on national interest, common goals, and adherence to time-honored principles of international law,” he added.
Mr. Duterte will also be meeting with Korean business leaders and “encourage them to be [the Philippines’] responsible partners in [its] pursuit of economic growth.”
Mr. Hernandez cited that “South Korea is the 7th largest trading partner of the Philippines with trade relations totaling around US$10.6 billion and the 5th largest Official Development Assistance (ODA) partner of the Philippines, with about US$570 million dollars in loans and grants last year.”
The PND said the President is accompanied by Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque Jr., Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin M. Andanar, Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela T. Peña, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go. — Arjay L. Balinbin