PH, South Korea to discuss West Philippine Sea issue in maritime dialogue next week

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4) — The Philippines and South Korea will be holding a maritime dialogue in Manila next week to tackle maritime issues including developments and incidents in the West Philippine Sea.

In a speech during South Korea's National and Armed Forces Day celebration, South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Lee Sang-hwa reaffirmed his country's position in maintaining peace and stability in the region and acknowledged the Philippines as an important partner.

"We are happy to have the Philippines as our key partner whom we can trust and rely on against this backdrop. Korea will continue cooperation with the Philippines on military, defense industry and maritime collaboration," the Korean diplomat said.

The ambassador said a number of South Korean officials from different ministries and agencies are expected to attend the discussions.

"We are expected to cover a variety of issues ranging from maritime ecosystem protection, safety and security in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea and military to military and defense industry cooperation which is growing," Lee said.

On a question of Seoul speaking up on regional issues, he said it important to add Korea's voice over growing concerns in the region.

The South Korean government said possible agreements and memorandums of understanding may be discussed during the dialogue. The last meeting was held in Busan in 2022.

South Korea previously expressed concern over the resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal on Aug. 5 when the Chinese coast guard used water cannons and conducted dangerous maneuvers towards Philippine vessels.

China maintained it is simply protecting its sovereignty.