South Korean president elated that Filipinos love Korean culture

MANILA, Philippines – South Korean President Moon Jae-In is delighted that Filipinos have embraced Korean culture, saying this is one concrete way the two countries are improving their ties.

He relayed this sentiment to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during their bilateral meeting on Monday night, November 13, at the Philippine International Convention Center.

"The Korean wave is popular in the Philippines," said Moon, who also pointed out that 1.5 million Koreans visit the Philippines every year.

"It's a great pleasure that our two peoples are deepening mutual understanding and friendship through close exchanges," he added.

Korean pop stars, Korean television shows, and Korean food are just some aspects of his nation's culture widely enjoyed by Filipinos.

The South Korean president described the Philippines as a "long-time friend" of his country, special even among Southeast Asian countries.

"It was the first among ASEAN nations to open diplomatic relations with Korea and the first among Asian nations to send ground forces to fight by our side during the Korean War," Moon noted.

The cultural exchanges are a good starting point to "further strengthen" relations between the Philippines and South Korea, said Moon.

He also has high hopes for fostering ties between his nation and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which the Philippines is chairing this year.

"I hope to enhance Korea-ASEAN relations to the highest level," Moon said.

He asked Duterte to help keep South Koreans visiting the Philippines out of harm's way.

"Mr President, I ask for your attention and support so that the Koreans who visit and reside in the Philippines can have a safe and enjoyable stay," said Moon.

It was the death of a South Korean businessman at the hands of the Philippines' own police force that led Duterte to temporarily strip cops of their leadership role in his controversial drug war. 

Duterte himself called the murder of the businessman, Jee Ick-Joo, an "embarrassment." He sent a representative to convey his apology to the South Korean government. 

Duterte, in his remarks during the bilateral meeting, focused on trade and economy.

He told Moon he is inviting South Korean businessmen to invest in the Philippines in the food, manufacturing, and agribusiness sectors, among others.

"We also would like to extend our invitation for you to go in the matter of manufacturing, automotive, food production, processing, agribusiness with bigger area, electronics, and energy," said Duterte.

He also thanked Moon for South Korea's importation of Filipino products, including personal care, food, garments, and electronic components. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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