Trivia about the Philippines-Korea Diplomatic Relations
The beginnings of Philippines-Korea relations are rooted in the commitment of both countries to freedom and democracy and in their common desire for peace and development. These values have served to sustain the friendship and cooperation which have characterized their relations since the establishment of diplomatic ties on 3 March 1949.
The Korean War, in which Filipino soldiers and other UN allied forces fought in defense of democracy is a testament to the strength and solidity of such relations. The various political exchanges between the two countries demonstrate how Ihe relations have grown and deepened through the years. The RP-ROK policy consultations, in particular, have strengthened bilateral cooperation by providing an avenue for the discussion of bilateral issues and concerns in areas such as trade, investment, official development assistance, labor and consular mat1ers. The RP-ROK bilateral meetings on logistic and defense industry cooperation have been most effective in strengthening RP’sdefense capabilities and in fostering close linkages befwsen the military establishments of both countries.
The exchange of visits between the Philippines and Korea has promoted close working relations between the officials of both governments. The recent state Visit of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada to Korea on 6-9 June 1999 has reaffirmed the importance of RP-ROK relations and highlighted the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. likewise the state visit of former President Fidel V. Ramos to Korea in 1993 and the reciprocal visit of Korean President Kim Young Sam to RP in 1994 has’ consolidated the two countries’ partnership.
In the field of economic cooperation, bilateral trade has considerably increased from US$708M in 1990 to US$495B in 1998, making Korea the Philippines’ 5th largest trading partner. In terms of investments, ROK ranks as RP’s 4th largest investor. ROK’s Official Development Assistance to the Philippines has been instrumental in the implementation of development projects particularly in the fields of transportation and communications. ROK’s technical cooperation program has also helped in promoting human resources development and in providing employment opportunities to Filipino workers. In 1996 alone, 3,600 Filipino trainees were sent to Korea to participate in the Alien Industry Technology Training Program (AITTP)in the field of tourism, ROK ranked 7th in 1998.
Cultural exchange and cooperation between the two countries hove also been most active ROK is host to about 14,000 Filipinos composed of trainees under the Korean Federation of Small Business (KFSB)and joint venture arrangements, musicians/artists, sea-based workers, students and professionals. In the 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, twelve 112)agreements have been signed between the two countries in such fields as: science and technology, culture, trade economic and technical cooperation, taxation, investments and extradition. Six (16) MOUs have also been signed between RP and ROK.
The successful visit of President Estrada to Korea in June 1999 provided an impetus towards a more vibrant and meaningful partnership between RP and ROK. The fort coming visit of President Kim Doc Jung to Manila in November 1999 is expected to consolidate the gains achieved during the Seoul Visit and to chart the framework for cooperation between the two countries well into the 21st century.