Bilateral relations between the two countries started on 3 March 1949 when the Philippines became the fifth country to recognize the Republic of Korea, which was inaugurated on 15 August 1948. The friendship was cemented by the Philippine deployment of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK) during the Korean War in the 1950s to help South Korea defend itself from the invasion of the North.
After the Armistice, the ROK sent H.E. Kim Yong-Ki as its first Ambassador to the Philippines on 19 January 1954. In May of the same year, the Philippines established a legation in the ROK led by Minister Tomas de Castro, who was appointed as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Philippines in the country. In 1958, the Philippines opened an Embassy in Seoul under Ambassador Eduardo Quintero. The relationship blossomed in the course of the decades through cooperation in both bilateral and multilateral fronts. In the multilateral setting, they are now cooperating closely in the UN, FEALAC, ASEM, APEC, ARF, EAS and ASEAN+3.
Roster of Legates and Ambassadors Extraordinary
and Plenipotentiary Accredited to the Republic of Korea
- Tomas de Castro
Minister (Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary), 11 May 1954 to 1956
- Cosme P. Garciao
Minister (Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary),1956-1957
- Eduardo T. Quintero, 25 July 1958 - 1960
- Juan M. Arreglado, 1960 - 1963
- Pedro L. Ramirez, July 1964 - 12 April 1968
- Benjamin T. Tirona, 10 May 1968 - 1 April 1979
- Nicaor T. Jimenez, 18 January 1980 - 15 April 1985
- Tomas R. Padilla, 19 January 1986 - 31 December 1990
- Raul Ch. Rabe, 23 April 1992 - 07 April 1993
- Francisco L. Benedicto, 14 June 1993 - 16 May 1995
- Ernesto S. Gidaya, 8 January 1996 - 31 August 1998
- Juanito P. Jarasa, 21 May 1999 - 12 June 2003
- Aladin G. Villacorte, 30 September 2003 - 31 June 2005
- Susan O. Castrence, 27 January 2006 - 20 January 2008
- Luis T. Cruz, 15 February 2008 - present
South Korea is currently a major trading partner of the Philippines. In 2006, South Korea was the top sender of visitors to the country, with more than half a million arrivals. Both governments have instituted various agreements at the bilateral level, including, for labor, the Employment Permit System. Cooperation between the two countries in the political, security, economic, socio-cultural and development fields is expected to continue as both parties strive to further strengthen relations.
The Philippines is an active supporter of the inter-Korean peace process and reconciliation efforts. It joins the international call for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula as a crucial step for the security and continued economic development of the region and strongly advocates a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear issue, particularly through multilateral dialogue.
High-level policy consultations between the Philippines and South Korea are done on a regular basis.
Filipino General Carlos Romulo, who was the president of the UN General Assembly when the Korean War broke out in 1950, staunchly advocated the international defense of South Korea. “The application of military sanctions in Korea is in itself an act of the greatest significance,” he said before the Assembly on 25 September 1950, reflecting on the decision of the Security Council to take military action in the peninsula and on the need to strengthen collective action against acts of aggression.
“The Philippine Government, for its part, has given concrete proof of its support of the principle of collective security by sending troops to help the UN forces in Korea,” he added, referring to the first of five battalion combat teams from the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK), which rushed to Busan only six days earlier on 19 September 1950.
The relations between the Philippines and South Korea have always been characterized by such mutual trust and support. Bilateral relations between the two countries started on 3 March 1949 when the Philippines became the fifth country to recognize South Korea.
The Philippines sent 7,420 soldiers to South Korea over a five-year period, among them former President Fidel Ramos and two former ambassadors to South Korea. Today, the Philippine Embassy commemorates their sacrifices every September at the Philippine Monument in Goyang City and in Yeoncheon County, where two memorials were erected in the 1960s to honor their courage and bravery during the Battle of Yultong.
The Korean War is actually enshrined in the Philippine currency. At the back of the P500 bill (around KRW12,000) is a picture of our hero, Benigno Aquino, Jr. Aquino was a war correspondent during the Korean War, and beside his picture is one of his articles entitled “First Cavalry Knifes Through 38th Parallel.”
Aquino is the father of Pres. Benigno Aquino III, the 15th president of the Philippines.
In the Philippines, two monuments about the Korean War attest to the longstanding ties between the two countries?the PEFTOK Memorial in Manila and the Marikorea Monument in Marikina City, where our soldiers trained before deployment to South Korea.
For over 60 years, the Philippines and South Korea nurtured this friendship, a partnership that began with military collaboration and lives on to this day in the form of deeper and more comprehensive cooperation in diverse areas such as trade, political-security concerns and socio-cultural exchanges.
The Philippines and South Korea continue to stand side-by-side, proud of their shared history, committed to regional peace, and united by a common future of sustainable progress and stability.