CLOSER TIES. Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo (right) and Korea’s Foreign Minister Park Jin shake hands during a discussion on the sidelines of the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 19, 2022. A strategic partnership would pave the way for an even closer people-to-people exchanges through tourism, education exchanges and labor cooperation. (Photo courtesy of DFA)

MANILA – The Philippines and South Korea are determined to elevate their bilateral ties into a "strategic partnership", the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.

On the sidelines of the 77th United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 19, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and Korea’s Foreign Minister Park Jin banked on the "deep and close ties that have spanned more than seven decades" to elevate the relations.

"It was a pleasure to meet for the very first time today, Korean FM Park Jin, on the sidelines of UNGA. We covered a lot of issues and committed ourselves to formalizing soon the elevation of Philippine-Korea bilateral relations to a strategic partnership," Manalo said.

A strategic partnership would allow increased high-level engagements, closer maritime cooperation, increased collaboration in addressing common security challenges, expanded cooperation in trade and investments and in science and technology between the two countries, according to the DFA.

Among others, it would pave the way for an even closer people-to-people exchanges through tourism, education exchanges and labor cooperation.

Manalo said he also anticipates the signing of the 2022-2026 Framework Arrangement Concerning Loans from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund, which could finance more development cooperation projects in the Philippines.

"Korea’s participation in (the Philippines') infrastructure development, including the construction of highways, railways, ports and airports, is an important aspect of Philippines-Korea bilateral relations," the DFA said.

Development cooperation between Seoul and Manila has spanned for over 30 years, with Korea providing small technical assistance to the country as early as 1990.

From USD7.24 million in 1991, Korea's official development assistance to the country have increased to around USD127.75 million in 2021, according to the Korean Embassy in Manila.

During the meeting, the two officials also exchanged views on regional and international developments. (PNA)