S. Korea gives jet, backs PH approach in sea row
SEOUL - President Aquino and South Korean President Park Geun-hye discussed the current situation in the West Philippine Sea during their summit talks at the Blue House.
Aquino thanked South Korea for supporting the country’s position in taking a rules-based approach in resolving conflicting territorial claims with China.
“We do not want to pick up a fight with anybody but we will do what is needed to protect our sovereignty. As we respect other nations’ rights, we expect them to respect ours,” Aquino was quoted by Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma as saying.
Aquino thanked Park for the imminent transfer to the Philippines of one FA-50 combat jet.
In addition, the Philippines will also be acquiring from South Korea additional aircraft, military vessels and equipment, and command-and-control equipment as part of the AFP modernization program.
Aquino said the newly signed memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation could expand and strengthen “the long-standing partnership between the two countries.”
President Park, meantime, acknowledged the Philippines’ and ASEAN’s support in persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.
Both sides committed to enhance bilateral trade with Korea promising to complete the accreditation process that will pave the way for Philippine chicken exports.
Aquino hoped Korea will be able to facilitate the entry of additional Philippine fruits into the Korean market.
Park requested an easing of restrictions to foreign direct investments from her country, “including those on market access, appointment of senior corporate officials, and renewal of business licenses and permits,” according to Coloma.
“President Aquino pledged that the Philippine government will do what is needed to remove bureaucratic bottlenecks,” Coloma said.
SAFETY OF KOREANS
Aquino committed to protect and ensure the safety of Korean citizens in the Philippines numbering around 100,000, but noted that “it is difficult to prosecute” cases involving Koreans “if the perpetrators of crimes against Koreans are their fellow nationals.”
A Korean consulate will be opened in Cebu that will serve the needs of Korean nationals there, said Aquino.