Aquino leaves for S. Korea Thursday morning for 2-day state visit | Global News

Aquino leaves for S. Korea Thursday morning for 2-day state visit

/ 05:55 AM October 17, 2013

President Aquino: On mission to strengthen ties with South Korea. Photo by Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines—President Aquino is set to fly to Seoul Thursday morning for a two-day state visit.

Aquino leaves just a day after a whirlwind visit to areas in Bohol and Cebu that were heavily damaged by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake on Tuesday.


He takes off at 7:40 a.m. and is expected to return before midnight Friday, according to deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.


Aquino is slated to meet with South Korean President Park Geun-hye at the Blue House, the executive office of South Korea’s head of state.

Besides strengthening bilateral relations, Malacañang said the President also hopes to lure more Koreans to continue visiting the Philippines.

Korea is the county’s top source of tourists, with 706,998 visitors, or a share of 25.26 percent of total visitors, from Jan. to July this year, according to the Department of Tourism.

On the other hand, Park’s foreign policy for Asia identifies three countries as the target of her government’s intensified cooperation. It has the acronym VIP, which stands for Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

According to an official itinerary provided by Malacañang, the President will lead the wreath-laying ceremonies at the Memorial Tower in Seoul National Cemetery before proceeding to the Blue House for the official welcome ceremonies.

After arrival honors, which include a 21-gun salute, Aquino will be officially received by the South Korean President. A summit between the two presidents will follow.


Aquino will be the guest of honor at a state dinner hosted by Park at the banquet hall of the State Guest House.

His other activities include a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of his late father, former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., a speech before the Korean Business community and an interview by CNN-Korea.

Before leaving Seoul on Friday night, the President will meet with the Filipino community at the Lotte Hotel.

Philippine Ambassador to Korea Luis Cruz said the Philippine President will be reciprocating the visit made in 2011 by former President Myung Bak.

Relations between the two countries formally began in the 1950s when the Philippines sent an expeditionary force to help the United Nations-led coalition in defending South Korea against North Korea.

Up to now, both countries recognize this military alliance as the bedrock of the Philippines-Korea relations, said Cruz.

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The ambassador said it was a welcome development that South Korea has included the Philippines among the three VIP countries targeted for  intensified cooperation, especially in the area of economic cooperation.

TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Diplomacy, Philippines, South Korea, state visit

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