Department of National Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. (left) and South Korea National Defense Minister Shin Won-sik (Photo courtesy of DND)

SINGAPORE – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. met separately with Shin Won-sik, Minister of South Korea’s National Defense; Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs; and Singapore Defense Minister Dr. Ng Eng Hen on the sidelines of the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ 21st Shangri-La Dialogue here on Saturday.

Teodoro told his South Korean counterpart that the DND “values the 75 years of defense and security cooperation” between Seoul and Manila, according to a news release on Sunday.

“We look forward to the future of South Korea-Philippine relations,” Teodoro said, adding that he’s grateful for South Korea’s support to the Philippines on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) issue.

Shin said South Korea wants to foster stronger and forward-looking defense and security relations with the Philippines.

Likewise, Teodoro and Ng vowed further strengthening of mutual interests such as regional security.

“We value your voice in regional and multilateral forums,” Ng told Teodoro.

Meanwhile, Teodoro told Fontelles that the Philippines needs the EU’s support in multilateral forums.

In response, Fontelles said the EU is willing to extend assistance to the Philippines in areas such as maritime security and cybersecurity.

“We have to do more in this part of the world. Let us do more than courtesy visits,” Fontelles said.

Teodoro also met with Lithuania Minister of National Defence Laurynas Kasčiūnas, New Zealand Minister of Defense Judith Anne Collins and Canada Minister of National Defence Bill Blair on Friday, aimed at deepening and broadening defense and security cooperation.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. delivered the keynote message at the opening of Asia’s premier defense forum on Friday, the first Philippine president to do so.

Marcos reiterated that the Philippines is committed to address the maritime dispute in the WPS through dialogue and diplomacy amid China’s continued aggression. (PR/PNA)