Duterte will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit to discuss military upgrades, North Korea, the South China Sea row and other security matters.
Presidential Photo/File
Duterte, South Korea president to discuss South China Sea
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - November 21, 2019 - 12:00am

Manila, Phillipines — Despite “hating” traveling and suffering from various ailments, President Duterte is pushing through with his trip to South Korea this weekend, saying many things are “at stake.”

Duterte will meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Republic of Korea (ASEAN-ROK) Commemorative Summit to discuss military upgrades, North Korea, the South China Sea row and other security matters.

“I hate traveling. I don’t want to travel. It gives me headache and everything, but this is important. You know, so many things at stake. One is that we are buying arms. Second is that there are many assistance on the way, coming. Third is Seoul is our vital partner,” Duterte said at a press conference Tuesday evening in Malacañang.

“I’ll talk to Korea. But on the sides. That’s how it is. They call it pull-aside,” he added.

Duterte said the trip would allow him to assess the equipment to be acquired from South Korea. He noted that the Philippines is acquiring two brand new corvettes and firearms from South Korea. The Philippines has also bought 12 FA-50 jets from South Korea to strengthen its territorial defense capabilities.

“You know, firearms are costly nowadays but we can always buy,” Duterte said.

Duterte also confirmed that he would hold bilateral meetings with other leaders on the sidelines of the summit but did not elaborate.

“Security matters. One, it’s really about security. And it’s obvious. It is now the… the equilibrium of geopolitics. You know North Korea then the Spratly Islands. The South Koreans are also against the occupation of the South China Sea and the claim of China,” the President said.

China’s creeping expansion in the South China Sea is also worrying other regional players who are concerned about its impact on freedom of navigation in the busy sea lane.

The ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit from Nov. 25 to 26 will celebrate three decades of dialogue partnership between the regional bloc and South Korea.

PHILIPPINES-SOUTH KOREA TIES SOUTH CHINA SEA SOUTH KOREA
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