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PHL, South Korea ink new defense pact


The Philippines and South Korea have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on several defense issues, including military education and training as well as buying of weapons and aircraft, President Benigno Aquino III said. 
 
In an intrerview with reporters in South Korea on Thursday night, Aquino said the MOU covers the exchange of "defense-related experience and information; exchange of visits by military personnel and experts; military education, and training, research and development."

Aquino is on a two-day state visit to Seoul. He left Thursday morning and is expected to be back Friday night.
 
Also included, he said, is "logistics maintenance, military technology cooperation, humanitarian assistance, international peacekeeping activities; sports and cultural activities; medicine and health services; and other areas jointly decided by the participants."
 
He said both sides agreed to "try and expedite the arm purchase and the delivery of ... planes" to the Philippines.
 
"I think brand new... I think the number is 12... squadron of 12," he said.
 
As for what Korean military will be getting from the Philippines, he said "details will still have to be worked out."
 
But given that the country has so many "insurgencies," Aquino said jungle warfare "would be one of our expertise."
 
He also said the Philippine government can help South Korea "deal with a completely different political set-up."
 
"Sa kanila naman...they have to deal with their next door neighbor; ibang-iba yung system from their system. Their system is [like] ours, democratic system," he said.
 
On the other hand, Aquino said he also thanked the Korean government for supporting the country's position for a lawful and peaceful settlement of the West Philippine Sea dispute.
 
"Nag-express sila na nasa interest rin nila being a very large trading country, yung promotion of stability and the easing of tensions in this disputed waters," he said.
 
Meanwhile, Aquino said the Korean government downplayed fears that hostilities between them and North Korea may escalate since there is a reportedly large disparity between their military forces. — Kimberly Jane Tan/RSJ, GMA News