By GENALYN D. KABILING
President Aquino dislikes leaving the country but he has another foreign trip lined up next month.
Aquino, already expected to travel to Indonesia and Brunei for regional summits, is scheduled to make a two-day state visit to South Korea on October 17 and 18.
The President is expected to hold meetings with government leaders as well as top businessmen in South Korea to expand the country’s economic and defense relations, according to deputy presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte.
Aquino has accepted the invitation extended by South Korea President Park Geun-hye to visit his country next month.
Valte said the two leaders are expected to tackle bilateral issues, particularly political, defense, economic, and development cooperation, and exchange views on regional and international challenges, among others.
She said the President also seeks to attract more investments to the country when he meets the South Korean business community. A meeting with the Filipino community in South Korea is also being arranged during the President’s visit.
Before South Korea, the President is expected to travel to Bali, Indonesia on October 6 to 8 to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. Afterwards, he will join other regional leaders for the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Brunei on October 9 and 10.
Early in his term, Aquino acknowledged he prefers to stay in the country and attend to the people’s needs rather than travel abroad. But he eventually realized the importance of reaching out to world leaders to the nation’s development and agreed to limit his foreign travels to essential ones.
Valte said Malacanang will release the list of the President’s official delegation as well as the travel expenses a few days before the President leaves for South Korea.
The country’s diplomatic relations with South Korea started on March 3, 1949. Since then, the two countries enjoy “dynamic economic relations,” according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
To date, South Korea is one of the country’s top partners in trade, investments, and development cooperation. Korea is also the country ’s leading source of tourists.