Duterte to fly to S. Korea for first official visit

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 02 2018 03:25 PM | Updated as of Jun 03 2018 03:10 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will fly to South Korea late Saturday on his first official visit, where he is expected to reaffirm long-standing ties with the East Asian country. 

Duterte is set to leave Manila at 11:30 p.m. and will stay in Seoul from June 3 to 5, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Friday.

On Sunday, the President is expected to meet with the 68,000-strong Filipino community in South Korea at the Grand Hilton.

He is set to meet his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in on Monday at the Blue House, where the two leaders are expected to reaffirm ties ahead of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two sides. 

It can be recalled that Moon invited Duterte for a visit during the East Asia Summit in Manila last November. 

“The significance of this visit refers back to basically conveying to the Republic of Korea the importance of its partnership with the Philippines and to reaffirm the strength of Philippines-Republic of Korea relations,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella said in a Palace press briefing Friday.

Duterte and Moon are expected to discuss the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City. It is, meanwhile, still unclear whether Duterte and Moon will discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula amid recent developments on the matter. 

The two nations are also expected to sign agreements on transportation, science and technology, and trade as well as a loan agreement for the new Cebu International Container Port.

Abella had earlier said Manila is seeking to acquire access to the South Korean market for fruits and vegetables.

President Duterte is set to leave Seoul at 8:35 p.m. on Tuesday and is scheduled to arrive in Manila 11:40 p.m.