News Release

Regional security tops President Duterte’s agenda during South Korea trip

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a press conference at the Malacañan Palace on November 19, 2019. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte holds a press conference at the Malacañan Palace on November 19, 2019. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Regional security will be the top agenda of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte when he meets other leaders during his attendance to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-South Korea Commemorative Summit in Busan, South Korea.

President Duterte told reporters during a Palace press conference Tuesday that he would have a bilateral meeting with the leader of South Korea when he attends the summit next week. The commemorative summit will be held in Busan from November 25 to 27.

The equilibrium of geopolitics will be high on the agenda including issues such as the tension in the Korean Peninsula and the Spratly Islands, he said, adding South Korea is also opposed to China’s occupation of the territories in the South China Sea.

“This will be taken up because one day, when we decide to really go for it, it will be the Western powers plus Seoul, plus Tokyo, and Australia. Malaysia…I do not know if… I’m not sure of Malaysia if they’ll join the fray,” the President said.

“I said if it is to the interest of the Republic that I will commit to any…then I will. But if it is not, I said, to the interest of the people of the Philippines, I will never commit to anything that would even jeopardize one life.”

While he does not like traveling, the President said he would attend the summit to push the country’s interest there.

There are many things at stake during the trip, the President said, noting South Korea is one of the country’s top arms supplier.

“One is that we are buying arms. Second is that there are many assistance on the way, coming. Third is itong Seoul is a vital partner natin,” he said.

“Alam mo kasi, ang mga armas ngayon mahal but we can always buy. Our jet planes, ‘yung FA-50 natin, galing ano ‘yun.”

The Philippines is buying corvettes from South Korea to boost the country’s naval defenses, according to the President, adding that with the trip, he could have a first-hand look at the defense equipment. PND