MANILA - The ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino - Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on Saturday said it was set to send a delegation to North Korea in a bid to "help improve" ties between Manila and Pyongyang.
President Rodrigo Duterte's party said this following recent breakthrough talks between United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, seen to pave the way for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
It said it was ready to support the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in enhancing the country's ties with North Korea, for long a reclusive state.
"PDP-Laban is ready to do its part to facilitate closer ties with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Our Party will send a delegation to Pyongyang to meet with their counterparts from the Workers’ Party of Korea,” Energy Secretary and PDP-Laban National Vice Chairman Alfonso Cusi said in a statement.
The delegation will be led by PDP-Laban Vice President for International Affairs Sec. Raul Lambino, Cusi said.
"The PDP-Laban delegation is charged with the task of forging closer party-to-party and people-to-people ties between our two countries," Cusi said.
"We offer to the DFA our services to help establish more formal relations between our governments,” he added.
The Philippines and North Korea established formal ties on July 12, 2000.
"As part of our independent foreign policy, the Philippines should not hesitate to reframe our relations with countries that we have not significantly engaged with in the past," Cusi said.
Last year, the Philippines suspended trade relations with North Korea in compliance with a United Nations sanction following its repeated missile tests.
PDP-Laban representatives had also met with their counterparts from ruling parties in China and Russia, two countries that Duterte has endeavored to establish close ties with since he became president in 2016.