Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Independence Day of the Republic of Korea

TODAY is the Independence Day of the Republic of Korea.

At the end of World War II, the Korean Peninsula was liberated from colonial rule, which had been in place since 1910. The Republic of Korea, commonly known as South Korea, was proclaimed on August 15, 1948.

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the Republic of Korea were established on March 3, 1948. The Philippines is considered a close traditional ally of South Korea. Many South Koreans still harbor a deep sense of gratitude to the Philippines for being one of the first countries to send troops to defend South Korea from invasion in the 1950s.

Korea has enjoyed an ever-expanding cooperative and friendly relation with the Philippines. The Republic of Korea currently ranks as one of our biggest trading partners. It is one of the largest markets for Philippine exports and imports as well as one of the top investing countries in the Philippines. Korea also ranks first at the source of tourists for the Philippines.

In December, 2005, President Roh Moo-Hyun of the Republic of Korea visited the Philippines and met President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. After an expanded bilateral meeting participated in by the two Presidents and members of their official delegations, the meeting produced six agreements: (1) a Social Security Agreement, covering pension, retirement, disability, and death benefits of Filipino workers in Korea as well as Korean workers in the Philippines; (2) a Project Arrangement and Loan Agreement in the amount of US.3 million for the Widening of the GapanSan Fernando-Olongapo Road and Emergency Dredging Project; (3) a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Mineral Resources, which involves the exchange of data and information on mineral resources; (4) a Partnership Agreement between the Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy and the Philippine Energy Regulatory Commission in establishing and operating a regular council that will promote cooperative exchanges in the electricity regulation area; (5) a Memorandum of Understanding on Mining Industry Development, which involves cooperation and joint development between the Philippines and Korea through exchange of mining information; (6) and a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Information Communications Technology (ICT), which involves the development and exchange of ICT among various sectors of the two countries.

On July 13, 2006, the 3rd Philippines-Republic of Korea Policy Consultation was held in Manila. The Consultation is a mechanism through which the Philippines and Republic of Korea discuss the advancement of the relationship between them.

We congratulate the government and people of the Republic of Korea led by President Roh-Moo Hyun, and its Embassy headed by H.E. Ambassador Hong Jong-Ki on the occasion of their Independence Day.

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