MANILA, Nov 19 (Mabuhay) – President Benigno S. Aquino III and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye expressed their willingness to boost their cooperation, during a bilateral meeting held on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit on Wednesday.
According to Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., the Philippines is keen to increase bilateral trade, encouraging South Korean companies to invest in shipbuilding, automotive manufacturing, food production, food processing and agribusiness, electronics, energy and renewable energy, finance and banking, infrastructure and public-private-partnership (PPP) projects, such as the development of the Puerto Princesa airport in Palawan.
He said the Philippines thanked South Korea for supporting such projects as the Jalaur Multi-Purpose Project, Laguindingan Airport air navigation system and support facilities, and the Samar Pacific coastal road project that South Korea committed to support until 2018.
“We are pleased with the robust logistics corporation between our two countries, as manifested by the Philippines’ acquisition of various defense material, most notably the FA-50 aircraft. We appreciate Korea’s donation of a patrol combat corvette, a landing craft utility, and 16 rubber boats to improve our military’s humanitarian assistance and disaster response capabilities,” Secretary Coloma quoted President Aquino as saying during the bilateral meeting, held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City.
The Palace official said President Aquino has assured President Park that the Philippine government places great importance on ensuring the safety and protection of all foreign nationals, including the more than one million Korean nationals frequenting and residing in the Philippines.
Coloma said the President is hopeful that South Korea would positively consider proposed amendments to the Social Security Agreement, so that it may be concluded to enable the peoples of both countries to fully maximize its benefits.
He said President Park, South Korea’s first female president, has commended the Philippines’ fast Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.
He said President Park also expressed hope that more South Korean companies would participate in the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization program.
Coloma further said the South Korean leader noted that with Korean partnership, the Philippines has become the fourth largest shipbuilding country, saying this is a good reference and take off point for expanded trade, investment and economic cooperation.
The Palace official said Park is seeking greater bilateral cooperation in projects in medicine and public health, as well as in transportation and infrastructure development.
President Park, who attended the recently concluded G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Turkey, was also keen on improving the social security program involving citizens of both countries, Coloma added.
He said that every year, more than 2,000 Korean-Filipino multicultural families are formed and the Korean government fully supports this as a gesture of the deepening of people-to-people ties. (MNS)