South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo on Monday expressed hopes that countries engaged in a territorial dispute at the West Philippine Sea to sign a binding code soon to resolve the maritime conflict. “South Korea looks into this area as well because 90 percent of our petroleum trade and 30 percent of our total trade goes through this area,” Han said in a press briefing at Armed Forces of the Philippines headquarters, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
“Relevant nations should act in accordance with the declaration of conduct that has been made and Korea hopes for the speedy conclusion of the code of conduct,” Han said.
The South Korean official said he and Gazmin also agreed to expand cooperation between their countries’ militaries, and expressed readiness to share Seoul’s “know-how” in defense.
Before the briefing, Han met with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, with whom he signed an “agreement on protection of confidential military information.” The South Korean official is in a two-day visit to Manila, the first time for a South Korean defense minister to visit in six years.
During his stay, Han also met with surviving members and families of the Philippine contingent that fought in the Korean War. He added South Korea is trying to return the favor, as shown by the deployment of Korean soldiers in Leyte during the aftermath of Super typhoon “Yolanda” in November 2013.