MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / 29 Jul) - Manila and Pyongyang signed a landmark accord establishing a mechanism for bilateral consultations in the political, economic and cultural fields that are expected to further deepen the relationship between the two countries.
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun signed the agreement in Manila.
Romulo, the first Filipino foreign minister to visit North Korea since the two nations established formal diplomatic relations in July 2000, welcomed the accord, saying it solidifies the relations between the two countries.
"The agreement builds on our current efforts to solidify our relations with DPRK. It is also a concrete proof of both the Philippines and DPRK’s commitment and desire to further intensify our cooperation on mutual concerns," he said.
"Through this Agreement, our two countries give full and clear expression to our shared hopes and aspirations for the welfare of our peoples, and for peace and stability in the region," he said.
Claro Cristobal, Filipino Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary, said the agreement provides a regular forum for the Philippines and North Korea to discuss and chart diplomatic relations on a broad range of issues.
Pak described the landmark agreement as "an important phase in our bilateral relations."
"Our cooperation is moving from strength to strength," Pak said.
Pak indicated that North Korea is interested in developing cooperation in energy, information technology and cultural exchanges.
During the signing ceremonies, he announced that he will direct the Foreign Ministry to work closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs for the signing of a cultural agreement.
The North Korean foreign minister also reacted positively to Romulo’s call for the continuation and success of the Six-Party Talks, an indication, Romulo said, that DPRK is committed "to further broaden the frontiers of peace in the Asia-Pacific region."
"Our bilateral agreement with one of our new emerging partners bolsters our region’s collective efforts for greater peace, progress and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific," Romulo said.
The members of the Six Party Talks – DPRK, South Korea, China, Japan, the United States and Russia – will also be attending the Post Ministerial Conferences and the 14th ASEAN Regional Forum, according to Philippine government media reports.