SoKor And PH Strengthen Ties, President Moon Jae In All Praises For Duterte


President Moon Jae-in was generous with good words for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during the latter’s 3-day official visit to South Korea.  This comes after Duterte infamously kissed a married OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) onstage, sparking outrage from different sectors around the world.  Amidst Duterte’s playful antics, his effective leadership earned praise from South Korea.

Hat’s Off

At a joint press briefing at the Blue House (Cheong Wa Dae) in Seoul, Moon lauded Duterte for changing the economic and social landscape of the Philippines.  In his speech, Moon said,
“I take my hats off to President Duterte’s leadership which has enabled rapid economic growth and social stability, drawing great support from the people of the Philippines in the process,”  
Moon added that he is grateful for Duterte’s promise to protect the welfare of South Koreans living in the Philippines.

Stronger Ties

The meeting between Moon and Duterte was also an affirmation of stronger ties between South Korea and the Philippines.  Moon committed to being more involved in projects that will bring mutual success for both countries.
Sharing his vision, he said, 
“In particular, I look forward to seeing the Korean companies’ participation further expanded in the fields of transportation, energy, and infrastructure through our cooperation in the new industries such as info-communications as well as science and technology. We will create the growth engine for the future together.”
Moon and Duterte marked 2019 as the “year of mutual exchanges between Korea and the Philippines to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations.”

Tourism

Aside from economic projects, tourism has also boomed between the two countries in recent years.  1.6 Million South Korean tourists flocked the Philippines last year while 450,000 Filipinos visited South Korea.  With renewed and stronger ties, Moon expects more Filipinos to visit his country and vice versa.
“The people of our two countries will visit each other more frequently and enhance the understanding in communication among them,” Moon said.

Mutual Praises

Likewise, President Rodrigo Duterte praised President Moon for the historic end of the long-standing war between North and South Korea.  
“I commended President Moon for his vision of bringing peace, stability, and prosperity to the Korean peninsula. His selfless dedication is demonstrated by the historic Inter-Korean Summit (in April), which resulted in the (signing of the declaration),”
Duterte said, adding that he is hopeful that the peace pact would ultimately lead to the denuclearization in the Korean peninsula.
Moon expressed appreciation of Duterte’s support.  
“His support will be of great help to us on our journey to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula. Our two countries will further strengthen our cooperation and that goes beyond the Peninsula to uphold peace in the region,” Moon said.

Continuous Harmonious Ties

The meeting of the two presidents provides assurance that the Philippines and South Korea will continue to enjoy harmonious ties.  Last April, South Korea was the 10th largest market for exports in the Philippines, the Philippine Statistics Authority revealed.  
Moreover, some of South Korea’s largest companies (Samsung, LG, Hanjin and Hyundai) have long flourished in the Philippines.  Korean pop music and telenovelas are also popular among Filipinos.
There are about 60,000 Filipinos working in South Korea (according to the Commission on Filipinos Overseas) and South Korea is believed to have offered $1-billion worth of official development assistance (ODA) to the Philippines.

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