MANILA – President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday left for Busan, South Korea for the ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit.
In his departure speech, Aquino said the trip is meant to boost the already warm ties between the two nations.
''Isa itong relasyong pinanday ng mayamang kasaysayan ng pagkakapit-bisig para sa demokrasya, kalayaan at kaunlaran. Mula sa pagpapalago ng ekonomiya, sa pagpapaigting ng pambansang seguridad, pagpapasigla sa turismo at hanggang sa masusing ugnayan sa pagitan ng mamamayan, katuwang natin ang South Korea,'' Aquino said.
The summit is scheduled on Thursday, December 11 to Friday, December 12.
Aquino said South Korea is vital for the development of the Philippine economy, noting that the wealthy Asian nation sent about 1 million tourists to the Philippines last year.
He said South Korean firm Hanjin also helped the Philippines become the world's fourth largest ship-building nation.
Climate change agenda
A statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs said President Aquino and nine ASEAN member state leaders will deliver their respective country statements building on the theme "Building Trust, Bringing Happiness."
Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and other Members of the Cabinet, ASEAN-Philippines Director-General Luis T. Cruz and other officials from executive departments will accompany Aquino during the trip.
On December 11, the Philippine president will have a bilateral meeting with ROK President Park Geun-hye, who will host a Welcome Dinner and Cultural Performance to officially welcome ASEAN Leaders.
On December 12, Aquino will attend two Commemorative Summit Sessions at the Busan Exhibition Convention Centre (BEXCO) that will review the ASEAN-ROK cooperation and its future direction, and the cooperation on non-traditional security issues with emphasis on climate change and disaster risk management.
Aquino will also attend an exhibition on Korean traditional arts and crafts, a special exhibition on public governance, and a meet-and-greet with the CEO of Korea Aerospace Industries and ROK officials.
He will meet the Philippine media in a one-hour coffee meeting at the Paradise Hotel Busan before his departure.