MANILA - The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino - Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on Sunday said 4 of its delegates will leave for North Korea this week, embarking on a first-ever visit by a Philippine political party to Pyongyang.
The three-day mission is a "historic starting point of a new dynamic relationship with the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK)," PDP-Laban president and Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said in a statement.
The Philippine delegation will fly first to Beijing, where it is scheduled to depart for Pyongyang on Wednesday. It will hold meetings with WPK Central Committee officials from July 18 to 20, said PDP.
The PDP Laban trip was arranged a year ago following months of correspondence between PDP vice president for international affairs Raul Lambino and WPK vice chairman and head of the international department, Ri Su Yong.
PDP and WPK will sign a memorandum of understanding “affirming their friendship and promoting greater understanding and more meaningful party-to-party talks in the future", said Lambino, who was recently named by President Rodrigo Duterte as Presidential Adviser for Northern Luzon.
PDP said the diplomatic mission will be led by Eastern Samar Governor Lutgardo Barbo, the party's vice president for Visayas; Ronwald Munsayac, chairman of the its public information committee; Raymundo Roquero, vice chairman of the said panel; and Evan Rebadulla.
The Philippines and North Korea established formal ties on July 12, 2000.
Last year, Manila suspended trade relations with the reclusive state in compliance with a United Nations sanction following its repeated missile tests.