MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte congratulated newly-elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who was sworn into office Wednesday.
“On behalf of the Filipino nation, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte wishes to extend his warm congratulations to Mr. Moon Jae-in on his election as the new President of the Republic of Korea,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
The Palace official said the Philippines is looking forward to further strengthen relations with South Korea under its new president, noting the deep bilateral ties between the two countries.
“The Philippines and the Republic of Korea have strong, comprehensive and long-standing bilateral ties. Our two countries have extensive cooperation on political, economic, cultural and people-to-people exchanges in the bilateral, regional, and multilateral spheres,” he said.
“The Philippines is committed to further enhancing the relations with the ROK under President-elect Moon. We wish him all the best,” Abella said.
Bilateral relations between the two countries started on March 3, 1949 when the Philippines became the fifth country to recognize the Republic of Korea.
The friendship was further cemented by the Philippine deployment of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) during the Korean War in the 1950s to help South Korea defend itself from the invasion of the North.
Currently, South Korea is a major trading partner of the Philippines and its citizens comprised the most number of tourist arrivals in the country, topping more than 500,000 in 2016.
It is also one of the sources of foreign aid for anti-poverty and agro-fisheries program through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) which manages the technical assistance and grant aid aspects of Korea’s Overseas Development Assistance (ODA).