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Duterte affirms support for Moon's peace efforts.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte pledged his support for President Moon Jae-in's efforts to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula, in their summit at Cheong Wa Dae, Monday.

Duterte said Moon and the South Korean government's efforts contributed greatly to recent developments toward peace on the peninsula, by mediating between North Korea and the U.S. to enable a summit between their leaders to discuss Pyongyang's denuclearization.

Duterte stated he is "glad about Moon's efforts to make peace on the Korean Peninsula."

He said he believes there will be no setback in North Korean leader Kim Jong-un holding the summit with U.S. President Donald Trump on June 12.

The Philippine leader arrived in Seoul, Sunday, for a three-day official visit. This is the first time for Duterte to visit South Korea since he took office in 2016 and also a first for a leader of an ASEAN member state to visit South Korea since Moon took office in May last year.

The leaders met last November in the Philippines on the sidelines of an ASEAN Plus Three summit.

"South Korea and the Philippines made amazing achievements in all sectors including politics, economy, culture and people-to-people exchanges during the past 70 years, based on a strong friendship developed through the Philippines' participation in the 1950-1953 Korean War," Moon said.

"It was meaningful to develop friendship and trust with President Duterte, through holding beneficial talks on means to cooperate to take the current relationship to a higher level."

Following their meeting, ministers of the two nations signed memoranda of understanding for cooperation in the fields of transportation, trade, renewable energy, science and technology, and infrastructure.

Duterte was accompanied by Philippine ministers of foreign affairs, finance, defense, infrastructure, labor and trade as well as secretaries to the president.

At a time when South Korea and the Philippines see more than 2 million visitors from each other, Seoul and Manila have designated 2019 as the year of mutual exchange, in an effort to encourage this further.

Duterte pledged his government would gear up efforts to protect South Koreans residing in his country, as an increasing number of them have become targets of crimes in recent years. The Philippines has the largest Korean immigrant community in Southeast Asia.

Moon said Seoul would continue efforts to protect and support Filipino workers here and multiracial families with Philippine spouses.

The leaders evaluated the achievements made through bilateral cooperation in the fields of energy, agriculture and infrastructure construction, and agreed to boost cooperation in diverse sectors such as transportation, water resources management and information and communications technology.

Duterte welcomed South Korea's decision to increase the amount of funding through the Economic Development Cooperation Fund to the Philippines to $1 billion (1.07 trillion won).

The leaders also vowed cooperation in global issues including climate change, environmental conservation, maritime security and cybersecurity.

The Philippines is one of South Korea's major partners in Moon's New Southern Policy which aims to boost cooperation with Southeast Asian countries to the extent of that of its neighbors in Northeast Asia including China and Japan.

The two states formed diplomatic relations in 1949, with next year marking the 70th anniversary.

The Philippines was the first South East Asian country with which South Korea established diplomatic relations. It was the third country to dispatch troops to the 1950-53 Korean War, after the U.S. and U.K.
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Publication:The Korea Times News (Seoul, Korea)
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Jun 4, 2018
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