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Duterte to sign loan, trade pacts in Seoul

By Genalyn D. Kabiling

Manila and Seoul are expected to sign four agreements, including a loan agreement for the new Cebu international port, during President Duterte’s visit to South Korea from June 3 to 5.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella said the bilateral accords would be signed following the summit meeting between Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The President will discuss bilateral relations, agricultural and environment cooperation, protection of migrant workers and tourists, as well as the rehabilitation of Marawi City in his meeting with Moon.

“The summit meeting is expected to cover the following issues, among others, Philippine-Korea relationships, again marking the 70th anniversary of Philippines-Republic of Korea relations in 2019 after establishing official diplomatic relations with Korea on the 3rd of March of 1949,” Abella said.

“Part of the meeting will be reference to the Marawi rehabilitation. The Republic of Korea donated $100,000 to the Philippine Red Cross,” he added.

Abella said the two leaders are also expected to tackle social cooperation or the protection of nationals of both countries. There are around 1.6 million Korean tourists to the Philippines and 450,000 Filipino tourists to Korea in 2017, aside from the expatriates in each country.

Duterte will also meet Korean business leaders and the Filipino community in his first official visit to South Korea since his assumption to office in 2016.

Abella said the agreements between the Philippines and South Korea would cover transportation, infrastructure, technology, and trade cooperation.

“There’ll also be a loan agreement on the new Cebu International Container Port project between the government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Export-Import Bank of Korea,” Abella said.

The Department of Finance had earlier announced the loan agreement with South Korea for the port would cost around $172.64 million.

Abella said the two countries are set to sign memoranda of understanding on cooperation in transportation and scientific and technological cooperation between the Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Science and ICT of the Republic of Korea.

A trade and economic cooperation agreement will also be forged between the Department of Trade and Industry and the South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy.

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