Duterte's PDP-Laban inks deal with North Korea's party

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte's PDP-Laban signed a cooperation agreement with the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) led by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The agreement was signed on July 18 by former Senate secretary Lutgardo Barbo, PDP-Laban vice president for the Visayas, and Ri Su Yong, vice chairman of WPK's central committee. Rappler obtained a copy of the deal on Tuesday, August 7.

The deal, seeking to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two ruling parties, was borne out of a "desire to pursue and promote the profound friendship and fraternal bond."

"[It is] based on the principles of trust and equality and guided by the idea of independence, peace, and friendship," the 3-page document reads.

What's the agreement about? PDP-Laban and WPK agreed to:

The deal comes amid global efforts to disarm the isolated, nuclear-armed North in exchange for easing of sanctions and other help with economic development.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, PDP-Laban president, said they are again invited in September for North Korea's 70th founding anniversary.

What are PDP-Laban's other partnerships? In July, PDP-Laban sent a 4-member delegation to Pyongyang led by Barbo, public information committee chairman Ronwald Munsayac, Raymundo Roquero, and Evan Rebadulla.

PDP-Laban earlier established ties with the Communist Party of China and United Russia, the political party of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Under Duterte, the Philippines has rekindled ties with Russia and China as part of his administration's so-called independent foreign policy.

Duterte has repeatedly slammed the Philippines' traditional ally, the United States, for supposedly interfering with domestic affairs, including his bloody anti-drug campaign. – with a report from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com