Philippines, North Korea agree to boost bilateral relations (Roundup)
Jul 29, 2007, 6:51 GMT
Manila - The Philippines and North Korea on Sunday signed an agreement aimed at boosting the seven-year-old diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The agreement was signed by Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo and North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun on the sidelines of an Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting in Manila.
'Hopefully this will institutionalize regular consultations between our two foreign ministries to ensure mutual understanding and cooperation between our two countries,' Romulo 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 our region,' he added.
Pak hailed the agreement as 'an important phase in our bilateral relations.'
'Our cooperation is moving form strength to strength,' he said.
Pak said North Korea was very interested in developing cooperative arrangements with the Philippines in the areas of energy, information technology and cultural exchange.
He said he would instruct his office to work closely with the Philippine foreign office for the signing of a cultural agreement.
Pak emphasized the need to 'further intensify exchanges between our people' in order to hasten better understanding between the Philippines and North Korea.
The Philippines established diplomatic ties with North Korea in 2000. At the time, the Philippines was the only Asian nation without formal ties with Pyongyang.
Pak arrived in Manila late Saturday to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum later in the week, where North Korea's nuclear disarmament was expected to be discussed.© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur