Officials say South Korea's defense chief and his Philippine counterpart have signed an accord to protect classified military information to allow confidential data exchanges, including on potential hostilities between the rival Koreas.

The Philippine defense department says the accord signed Monday by South Korean Defense Minister Han Minkoo and his Filipino counterpart, Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, will enable the Philippines to be better informed of developments on the Korean Peninsula to protect thousands of Filipino workers in South Korea.

Han also backed the Philippine military's efforts to modernize and said territorial disputes in the South China Sea should be resolved peacefully and "based on mutual respect toward each other's sovereignty."

A South Korean firm will deliver the first two of a dozen fighter jets to the Philippine military in December.