One of the Philippines’ closest allies, South Korea, will help the country modernize its defense capability, particularly the acquisition of new helicopters and submarines.
This was confirmed by South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-Man in an exclusive interview over the weekend with the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
“Korea is now looking to provide helicopters, small firearms and eventually submarines, since Korean military gear and arsenal are cost-effective and would contribute to enhancing the defense capability of the Philippines,” Han said.
The Philippines had bought a dozen of brand new FA-50 jetfighters from South Korea for the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
The FA-50s were extensively used during the Marawi siege last year, blasting away ISIS-linked Maute terror group that occupied the southern Philippine city for almost five months before they were crushed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
During the interview, Han said Korea is “very happy to be part of the modernization of the Philippine military by reinforcing the capability of the Air Force.”
“Even President Duterte and Defense Secretary Lorenzana were pleased with the Korean FA-50 fighter planes, which proved to be very effective in fighting terrorists in Marawi last year,” Han said.
“Korea will continue to be part of this modernization program by providing more military equipment,” he added.
Han thanked the Philippines anew for helping South Korea during the Korean War in 1950-1955, when the Philippines sent more than 7,000 combat troops that comprised the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK).
“Today’s Korea would not be enjoying peace, democracy, and economic prosperity without the great and noble sacrifice of the Filipino Korean War veterans,” Han pointed out.
“When I met former President Fidel V. Ramos, who is a Korean War veteran, I, on behalf of the Korean people and government, expressed my deep gratitude to all the Korean War veterans as deserve the title of a “hero,” he added.
Han also acknowledged that “after the Korean War, many Filipino engineers and technicians came to Korea to help (build) a gymnasium and government complex, adding that “Koreans cannot forget their contribution in the process of Korean development.”