President Rodrigo Duterte and Korean President Moon Jae-in will discuss regional “security matters” among other top concerns when they meet in Busan, South Korea next week.
The Duterte-Moon bilateral meeting will take place during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) – Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit in Busan on November 25 to 27.
“Well, security matters. One, security. And it’s obvious. It is now the equilibrium of geopolitics,” Duterte said in a media interview in Malacañan Palace late Tuesday night.
He said the South Koreans are also against the occupation of the South China Sea and the claim of China.
“This will be taken up because one day, when we decide to really go for it, it will be the Western powers plus Seoul, plus Tokyo, and Australia. I’m not sure of Malaysia, if they’ll join the fray,” Duterte said.
South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man said the Philippines and South Korea are scheduled to sign at least four agreements during the Duterte-Moon bilateral meeting – those on social security, educational cooperation, fisheries, and tourism.
Also up for discussion are ways to increase trade volumes and conclude the free trade agreement between the Philippines and Korea, defense and logistics cooperation, and efforts to enhance people-to-people exchange.
The 74-year-old President, meanwhile, allayed concerns over the state of his health and whether or not he would be able to travel to Busan despite suffering from several ailments.
“When I decided to travel outside, it presupposes that I think kaya ko (I can manage). But to worry about … I’ll give you one advice. Things beyond your control, do not worry about it. You’re just wasting your time. There are things in life beyond your control. So do not kill yourself thinking about it,” he said.
Despite advice from his doctors to take a break from work, Duterte said he could not rest because of the amount of paperwork he had to do.
He urged the public anew to refrain from asking questions about his health, noting that senior citizens experience several aging-associated ailments.
“Huwag na ninyo akong tanungin na kung may sakit ba ako. Kasi lahat ng 74 years old dito sa Pilipinas — except for a few — lahat may sakit na ‘yan (Don’t ask me if I have any ailment because all 74-year-olds in the Philippines — except for a few — all of them have ailments),” Duterte said. “’Yung lahat ng sakit na ‘yan, nandito na sa akin. Matanda na ako. Pero nakakapagsalita pa naman ako (All of the ailments, I have them. I am already old. But I can still speak).”
The public, he said, could call out his attention if his poor health prevents him from performing his functions as President.
“When I’m no longer coherent, if I cannot articulate now the things that I want to relay to you, then it’s about time that you call the attention of my family, Inday, and (say) that your father is no longer capable of being President of this republic,” Duterte said. “Why? Because he’s not good anymore. Then if my family would say, ‘You retire. Do not wait for the expiration.’”
Duterte suffers from muscle spasms due to a minor motorcycle incident on October 16.
He has also complained about migraines and has Buerger’s disease, an inflammation of small- and medium-sized blood vessels. (PNA)