South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man on Tuesday said the Philippines and South Korea are scheduled to sign several agreements during the bilateral meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and Korean President Moon Jae-in next week.
In a Virtual Presser organized by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Office of Global Media Affairs, Han announced that the two countries would be signing memoranda of understanding (MOUs) on social security, educational cooperation, fisheries, and tourism.
These four agreements will be signed during Duterte’s visit to Busan to participate in the ASEAN-Korea Commemorative Summit from November 25 to 27.
“After the summit, we are envisioning to have an MOU signing, regarding the educational cooperation and the social security, and also cooperation on fisheries, as well as tourism implementation,” Han said.
The social security pact will ensure that the 70,000 Filipinos who live and work in South Korea get their social security benefits, Han said.
On the other hand, the education cooperation deal will expand Korean language facilities to more universities and provide scholarships to Filipinos who want to learn the language.
An agreement on fisheries cooperation will pave the way for a better-developed fisheries sector with help from South Korea’s modern technology.
Moreover, he said another deal on tourism implementation will also be signed to boost tourist arrivals in both countries.
Earlier, the South Korean government bared that it would support an airport project in Dumaguete City by providing USD100 million worth of funding through the Official Development Assistance (ODA).
Duterte’s upcoming trip to Busan will be the second time he will meet with Moon. The first was during a bilateral meeting in June 2018.
Han said the two leaders are expected to discuss ways to increase trade volumes and conclude the free trade agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and Korea.
“I think we have many potentials to develop our trade and investment. So in the future, we can increase our trade volume up to USD200 billion by 2020,” Han said.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez earlier expressed hope that the Philippines could conclude its FTA negotiations with South Korea by the end of the month.
FTA discussions between the two countries started in June this year, with the Philippines seeking for higher agricultural exports, aside from banana, pineapple and mango, and some industrial products, to South Korea.
South Korea is also asking for higher exports of industrial products to the Philippines.
Defense and logistics cooperation and efforts to enhance people to people exchange would also be among the topics discussed, he added.
South Korea currently remains the top tourism market for the Philippines with 1.6 million visitors last year.
Han vowed to bring the number up to 2 million visitors before his term as ambassador ends.
The envoy said 450,000 Filipinos visited South Korea last year and an estimated 500,000 are expected to visit this year. (PNA)