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Philippines' Duterte seeks to strengthen defense, security ties with S. Korea

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday that he will discuss defense, security and trade issues with South Korean President Moon Jae-in during his visit to Seoul this week.

In a speech before leaving for Seoul, Duterte said he plans to discuss a slew of issues with Moon during their meeting on Monday, including ways to further improve bilateral trade, defense and security cooperation, investments in infrastructure, information and information and communications technology (ICT), and tourism ties.

"In my talks with President Moon, I will explore ways to bring cooperation to all new level. I will emphasize the importance of strengthening our partnership in defense and security, trade and investment, and political cooperation," Duterte said.

Moreover, Duterte said he will also stressed the need for both countries "to work together to help achieve greater security by addressing conventional and emerging threats to stability in our country."

He said he will also meet with Korean business leaders "(to) encourage them to be our responsible partners in our pursuit of economic growth."

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said four agreements will be signed by the Philippines and South Korea, including the memoranda of understanding (MOUs) on transportation, science and technology, trade and economic cooperation.

Duterte said the ties between Manila and Seoul "are long and deep."

"Today we stand shoulder-to-shoulder in advancing our shared aspirations in facing threats to our nations and our peoples and in our region," Duterte said.

He said there is much to learn from South Korea's experience and expertise. "Despite seemingly insurmountable challenges, (South Korea) successfully transform itself into one of the most advanced and progressive economies of the world," he said.

As a long-standing partner, he said the Philippines "stands ready to write a new chapter of closer ties, deeper and amity and more comprehensive collaboration with South Korea."

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