Press Briefing

Pre-departure Briefing on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Official Visit to the Republic of Korea by Ernesto Abella, Undersecretary for Strategic Communications and Research, Department of Foreign Affairs

Location Malacañang Press Briefing Room, New Executive Building


USEC. ABELLA: Good morning. We’d like to update you on regarding the Official Visit of the President to the Republic of Korea, this coming — from the 3rd to the 5th of June, a whole span of three days.

This visit has been in the works since President Moon invited President Duterte at the sidelines of the East ASEAN Summit in Manila last November 2017.

The significance of this visit refers back to — basically has to do with conveying to the Republic of Korea the importance of its partnership with the Philippines and to reaffirm the strength of Philippine-Republic of Korea relations.

Of note, to be taken for — to underline, this will be the first Official Visit of the President to the Republic of Korea since assuming office.

This visit will also be the first by a Philippine President since 2014.

The Philippines is among the first nations in the world and the first among ASEAN Member States to establish official diplomatic relations with Republic of Korea, which was back in the 3rd of March 1949.

We actually celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Philippines-Korea relations in this coming year 2019.

Also, the President will be meeting with the Filipino community like he has done in previous visits. The majority are workers entering the country under the Employment Permit System or EPS, while the rest are students, professionals, missionaries, and spouses of Korean nationals.

There are about an estimated 68,000 Filipinos all in all in South Korea.

Aside from the Fil Com, the President will also participate in a summit meeting, business luncheon forum, and a summit meeting, business luncheon forum and E-Mart Philippine Food Festival.

Take note, the DTI is handling the business lunch while the Department of Agriculture will be handling the E-Mart event.

The summit meeting is expected to cover the following issues, among others, Philippine-Korea relationships, again marking the 70th anniversary of Philippines-Republic of Korea relations in 2019 after establishing official diplomatic relations with Korea on the 3rd of March of 1949.

Also, we’d like to — part of the meeting will be reference to the Marawi rehabilitation. The Korea — Republic of Korea donated a US$100,000 to the Philippine Red Cross.

There will also be a reference to social cooperation or the protection of nationals of both countries, with about 1.6 million Korean tourists to the Philippines and 450,000 Filipino tourists to Korea in 2017, aside from the expatriates in each country.

Also, to be noted will be agricultural cooperation, market access for Philippine exports, especially okra, avocado, and tropical fruits.

Lastly, it will touch on environmental cooperation. There are plans to cooperate in environmental protection for both bilateral and multilateral aspects.

For further questions regarding the information on this and the certification, we refer media to the DENR.

There will also be a joint press conference after the summit that reporters may wish to take note of, for you who will be travelling there.

That should be a summary of… There’s also a list of agreements that will be signed and witnessed by the leaders during the visit. This should… this is about all.We’ll be open to a few questions.


Maricel Halili (TV 5): Hi, sir. Good morning.

USEC. ABELLA: Good morning ma’am.

Ms. Halili: Sir, just a clarification, ‘yung summit meeting is different from the bilateral meeting between the two leaders?

USEC. ABELLA: Opo, opo. Ay, well. Basically that. That would be the meet up between the two leaders, yes.

Ms. Halili: And aside from these issues, what are the other topics that will be discussed between the President and the Korean leader?

USEC. ABELLA: Basically, these are the general topics that will be discussed with them and there may be some other topics or subjects but that will be raised up between them.

Ms. Halili: How about sir agreements between the two countries?


Ms. Halili: —- will there be any documents that will be signed?

USEC. ABELLA: Yes, ma’am. Okay. Let me refer you… First, there will… there are about four.

There will be an MOU between the Department of Transportation, DOTr, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of ROK concerning cooperation in the field of transport. Details are not available at this stage but there’s going to be that.

Then also a Memorandum of Understanding on Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the DOST and the Ministry of Science and ICT of the Republic of Korea.

Third, there’ll also be a loan agreement on the New Cebu International Container Port Project between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Export-Import Bank of Korea. That will be with the DOF, okay.

And also a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Trade and Industry, DTI, and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Trade and Economic Cooperation. So about four.

Pia Gutierrez (ABS-CBN): Hi sir, welcome back. Sir, will the President be meeting with the business leaders in South Korea, as he had done with other visits in other countries?

USEC. ABELLA: There will be a business luncheon and he may… I am not privy to the actual schedules but he may or may not be there. But there will be a business luncheon.

Ms. Gutierrez: So hindi pa po confirmed if he will be talking to the business leaders in South Korea?

USEC. ABELLA: I don’t have the exact details yet.

Ms. Gutierrez: All right. Will he also be bringing a business delegation with him, sir?

USEC. ABELLA: I suppose there will be a representation kasi DTI is going eh so I don’t have the names or the number but I’m sure there will be a number representing business.

Ms. Gutierrez: Sir, any information if any of the President’s family members will be going with him?

USEC. ABELLA: I think that will be more or less the purview of the OP, if at all.

Ms. Gutierrez: Sir, can I ask more details on the profile of the Filipino community in South Korea, sir?

USEC. ABELLA: Okay. Basically, we can give it to you much later but as I said, okay, a number of them are mainly… There will be… Many are skilled workers, many are skilled workers and while the rest are students, professionals, missionaries, and spouses.

Ms. Halili: Sir, will the President give an update with regards to the case of Korean national Jee Ick-Joo?

USEC. ABELLA: It’s not part of the agenda but if raised at all, it may be on a side basis. But it’s not part of the agenda.

Ms. Halili: And sir, what do we expect the President to tell the Korean leaders about the case?

USEC. ABELLA: I’m sure he will reassure them that everything that needs to be done is being done and that we will assure that justice will be done.

Ms. Halili: Thank you, sir.


Christine Avendaño (Philippine Daily Inquirer): Sir, what other issues will the President raise to his counterpart in Korea, sir? Isa doon sir, siyempre he will… the OFWs sir, he will of course raise it. But what other issues will he raise there?

USEC. ABELLA: As far as we know, ma’am, wala naman tayong mga thorny issues with the country ‘no so but basically, it’s a question of really underscoring the good relations that we have begun. But if at all, there will be… if it would be raised, it will be… it’s not here on the agenda regarding those matters.

Ms. Avendaño: Will North Korea be an issue there?

USEC. ABELLA: I don’t know. It’s… Officially, there’s no note of that but if it’s at all mentioned, I’m sure they’ll just discuss it on the sides. Mainly what… Well, in addition to that ma’am, mainly we can say that the Philippines welcomes the historic Inter-Korean Summit between President Moon Jae-in in the Republic of Korea and the supreme leader Kim Jong-un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which was held last April 27 in Panmunjom, okay.

And basically, we also… Despite the challenges, the Philippines remains hopeful that the planned US-DPRK Summit will push through as scheduled.

Rosalie Coz (UNTV): Sorry, sir…

USEC. ABELLA: Yes, ma’am?

Ms. Coz: May na-report po kasi last time na chartered — hindi na po siya gagamit ng chartered flight, si Pangulong Duterte, papunta sa South Korea?

USEC. ABELLA: Ma’am, I can neither confirm nor deny that but he will be there, okay? Thank you.


SOURCE: PCOO – PND (Presidential News Desk)