(UPDATE) President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III will push through with a scheduled trip to South Korea, amid a huge quake that struck Bohol and affected several Visayas areas.
The president will still be able to visit quake-hit areas Bohol and Cebu on Wednesday, before flying to South Korea Thursday. Aquino will go to the Northeast Asian country upon the invitation of South Korean President Park Geun-hye, and no trip cancellation has so far been reported.
Aquino's trip to South Korea signals his first meeting with Park, where they are expected to discuss political, economic and defense concerns during the state visit scheduled for October 17 and 18.
Aquino will also speak before the Korean business community in a bid to attract investments. He will also meet members of the Filipino community in Korea.
Palace officials however clarified Aquino is closely monitoring the quake’s aftermath and is set to be briefed by disaster management officials in Camp Aguinaldo.
Korea will be the President’s third out-of-the-country trip in October, following his participation in the APEC Summit in Indonesia and the ASEAN Summit in Brunei.
It will meanwhile be the sixth time Aquino will go abroad this year. The President traveled to Switzerland in January, Brunei in April and Myanmar in June.
Korea is among the country’s top partners in trade and investments. In 2012, the Tourism department recorded more than a million tourists from Korea, contributing nearly a quarter of total tourism arrivals.
The Philippines is seeking a "stronger commitment" from the United States to help its ally, the defence minister said on Monday, as China asserts its sovereignty over disputed areas of the South China Sea. China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year, and the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims. China said on Monday it had lodged a complaint with the United States over a U.S. spy plane that flew …