BUSAN, South Korea—President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in both vowed Monday to elevate the level of their countries’ relations to strategic partnership by 2020, allowing the two nations to engage in greater cooperation to achieve common prosperity.
In his opening remarks during the bilateral meeting with President Moon in The Westin Chosun Hotel here, President Duterte said the Philippines will continue to strive hard to strengthen its relations with South Korea.
“I assure you that the Philippines will continue to find common cause and purpose with the Republic of Korea towards enhancing our bilateral engagement and promoting peace and stability in your region,” the President said in his remarks.
President Moon also made the same commitment, suggesting that the two countries renew the level of their engagement for their common good.
“Based on our history of friendship and trust, the time is right for our two countries to think about elevating our relations to a strategic partnership,” President Moon said.
“The elevation of our relations will pave the way for our two countries to engage in greater cooperation that will lead us to common prosperity.”
The two leaders also promised to ramp up cooperation on multiple areas such as trade and investment, infrastructure development, defense, education, and tourism.
The Philippine leader recognized South Korea’s economic feat, commending it for becoming one of Asia’s economic and technological powerhouses. The Philippines, he said, continues to persevere and is now in the path towards development as a well-performing and emerging economy.
The past seven decades, President Duterte said, time has witnessed the rising level of cooperation between the two countries. “Our cooperation encompasses various spheres –from trade, investment, and official development assistance (ODA) to infrastructure development, defense, science, technology, and agriculture.”
The South Korean president also praised the country’s tremendous economic growth, noting “the Philippines is the future of ASEAN” as it continues to achieve an impressive growth rate of 6 percent each year under President Duterte’s outstanding leadership.
“Through our meeting today, I hope to strengthen my friendship with you and expand our bilateral cooperation to contribute further to the development of ASEAN,” he told the Philippine leader.
In 2018, South Korea was the Philippines’ fourth largest trading partner, with total trade amounting to over $13 billion. It was also a valued source of foreign direct investments, ranking 13th in the same year.
Numerous South Korean companies are doing business in the Philippines in the field of energy, electricity, electronics, textiles, and shipbuilding. South Korea is also a major source of tourists for the Philippine tourism industry.
The Philippines and South Korea celebrate this year 70 years of bilateral relations. PND