Duterte, Moon hail 'solid friendship' between Philippines, South Korea
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in affirmed their countries' "special friendship" during their meeting in Seoul on Monday, June 4.
Both gave statements in front of the media after their restricted meeting at Cheong Wa Dae or Blue House, the official residence of the president of the Republic of Korea.
"Our restricted meeting has shown us that ours is a special relationship that can only grow stronger with political commitment," said Duterte.
"A deeper engagement with South Korea, our long-standing partner and true friend, is essential to further strengthen individual and collective efforts for greater peace, progress, and prosperity," he added.
Duterte had used the term "true friend" to describe another country, Japan, which he thanked for their assistance in the government's efforts to stop violent extremism.
The Philippine President recalled that Koreans and Filipinos fought together during the Korean War. He thanked Seoul for their assistance to Filipino war veterans.
"During the Korean War, we fought side by side in defense of freedom and democracy. That is a legacy that must be remembered and continuously reaffirm," said Duterte.
Moon also acknowledged this shared aspect of their two countries' history.
"The Republic of Korea and the Philippines laid the foundations for solid friendship through the Korean War. On this platform, we have been making remarkable progress for the past 70 years, in every field including politics, economy, culture, and people-to-people exchanges," he said.
Moon was glad to report that South Korea is the Philippines' 5th largest trade partner with two-trade volume reaching 14.3 billion in 2017. Koreans are now also "the most frequent visitors to the Philippines," he said.
The Philippines and South Korea will celebrate 70 years of diplomatic ties in 2019.
The two leaders' exchange took place before a bilateral meeting that will include some Cabinet members. The meetings are being held on Duterte's second day in Seoul. On Tuesday, June 5, Duterte departs for Manila. – Rappler.com