5 June 2014 –South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwang-jin told Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin at a meeting in Seoul last May 30 that the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) will decommission a Pohang-class corvette (PCC) by yearend for donation to the Philippine Navy, yet another sign of the two countries’ growing defense cooperation, according to the Philippine Embassy in Seoul.
Secretary Gazmin said the warship follows the acceptance by the Armed Forces of the Philippines of an earlier ROKN donation of a landing craft utility and 16 rubber boats.
Secretary Gazmin, who was on official visit to South Korea from May 29 to 31, was accompanied by the new Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Raul S Hernandez.
Minister Kim, who has just been appointed National Security Adviser by South Korean President Park Geun-hye, remarked at the start of the meeting at the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul’s Yonsan-gu that Secretary Gazmin is the defense secretary he has met with the most.
Secretary Gazmin thanked his counterpart, one of the longest-serving South Korean defense ministers after being appointed in 2010 by then President Lee Myung-bak, for South Korea’s contribution to the rehabilitation of areas devastated by typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the Visayas. He said Korean soldiers based in Tacloban are much loved after establishing good rapport with the local population.
Minister Kim said South Korea’s gesture is a small token compared with the great contribution of Filipino troops during the Korean War.With the recent approval by President Benigno S. Aquino III of the terms of reference for a six-month extension of ROK’s non-combat mission, Minister Kim said South Korean troops will stay in the country until December 2014.
South Korea dispatched the 540-member “Araw Unit” in December 2013 as part of its humanitarian assistance efforts to help rebuild facilities and offer medical treatment in the damaged areas in Leyte and Samar.The next batch composed of 300 soldiers is due to take the place in rotation of the first group later this month.
Minister Kim is expected to assume his new position as head of the National Security Office at the presidential Cheong Wa Dae (Blue House) as soon as his successor-nominee, Han Min-koo, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), is confirmed by the National Assembly. END