Korean President Park Geun-hye and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III agreed on October 17 to cooperate on strengthening economic and military ties between the two countries.
At the meeting between two leaders President Park said, “I am anticipating that the two nations will go ahead with an even more solid relationship for mutual cooperation,” adding, “The Philippines is drawing international attention as a member of the VIP nations for its firm economic growth in recent years.” VIP is a term to refer to three emerging Southeast Asian economies -- Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
After signing an MOU to provide US$80 million in an Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) loan to the Philippines to build flood-control facilities and schools in the central region of Pampanga, Park stressed how close the two countries have been so far, saying the Philippines is the first Southeast Asian nation to open diplomatic relations with South Korea, and that it helped South Korea by sending a total of 7,420 Filipino troops in the 1950-53 Korean War. Park promised to actively provide official development assistance to the Philippines for its sustainable development.
The two leaders also signed a memorandum of understanding for defense sector cooperation. President Park expressed gratitude to the Philippine President for selecting the FA-50 in the country’s fighter jet program, hoping the two countries will sign the contract soon. Aquino said he will try to ensure that defense industry cooperation with South Korea can go smoothly.
South Korea has been in negotiations with the Philippines on a deal to export a dozen Korean-made supersonic trainer jet FA-50 fighters.
President Aquino arrived in Seoul in the same day for a two-day state visit. It is his first time to visit South Korea since taking office in June 2010, and the first state by a foreign leader to Korea under the Park Geun-hye government.