South Korea Assembly speaker set to visit Philippines

South Korea Assembly speaker set to visit Philippines

Pia Lee-Brago – The Philippine Star

July 22, 2023 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — South Korea’s National Assembly speaker will visit Manila next week to enhance the longstanding friendship and cooperation between South Korea and the Philippines.

During his visit from July 24 to 25, Speaker Kim Jin-pyo will be accompanied by his wife Shin Jonghee and several members of the assembly.

The start of the visit coincides with the State of the Nation Address of President Marcos, which the South Korean embassy sees as a further sign of the mutual commitment to fostering strong relations between the two nations.

With many ongoing projects and partnerships between the Philippines and South Korea, including the Samar Pacific Coastal Road Project, the Speaker is looking forward to further expanding economic cooperation with the Philippines in various fields such as energy, infrastructure and defense industry.

Kim will be meeting with Speaker Martin Romualdez and other members of the House of Representatives. Kim will also pay a courtesy call on Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.

The discussions during the meeting on July 24 will revolve around trade, investment, culture, tourism and regional security.

The Philippines and South Korea will celebrate the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations next year.

The Philippines is preparing for the state visit of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, as mentioned by Korean Ambassador Lee Sang-hwa when he presented his credentials to Marcos at Malacañang on July 10.

Kim’s itinerary includes a dinner and roundtable discussions with the Korean community in the Philippines and a site visit to Samsung Electro-mechanic Phils. Corp. in Laguna.

Genome center

The South Korean government, through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), has committed $14.95 million (over P800 million) in official development assistance for the establishment of an Agricultural Genomics Research Center (AGRC) at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna.

UP and KOICA officials recently signed the “record of discussions” for the project, which aims to strengthen science and technology adaptation in the agriculture sector in the country.

Describing it as a “transformative project,” UP president Angelo Jimenez said the project – which started in 2021 and will run until 2026 – “will enable us to embark on a journey of scientific discovery, development and, most importantly, cooperation.”

The establishment of the UPLB AGRC, he said, “will serve as a cornerstone providing a dedicated space for groundbreaking research and innovation.”

Through the project, KOICA Philippines country director Eunsub Kim said they hope to improve the country’s agricultural competitiveness by strengthening science and technology adaptation in the agricultural sector.

“With adaptation as a key element in this project, I highly encourage UP and IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) to also collaborate with other agricultural stakeholders and partners in order to maximize the project and the utilization of its output,” he said.

According to UP Los Baños chancellor Jose Camacho Jr., groundbreaking for AGRC is set in November, with its completion targeted in one year.

In addition to the construction of the building, KOICA’s assistance will also be used for capacity building in agricultural research and technology, including advanced studies of faculty members and students in various Korean universities.

KOICA will send experts to provide technical advice and support, assist in developing operational plans, enhance research and development capabilities and foster academic partnerships. — Janvic Mateo

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