Duterte, Abe look forward to ‘candid, productive’ meeting in Manila
President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday said they were both looking forward to a fruitful discussion on a wide range of issues, including trade and investments, defense and security, and peace in Mindanao.
In his opening statement at the summit meeting in Malacañang shortly after Abe’s arrival in Manila, Duterte said the Japanese leader’s visit to Manila, the first under the new administration, “demonstrates the shared commitment to further strengthen our important and valued strategic relationship.”
“Your Excellency, I look forward to a most productive meeting today. We have the opportunity to take stock of the developments following my official visit to Tokyo in October 2016. We can identify ways of building on agreements we have made on a wide range of issues that will benefit both our nations and peoples,” Duterte said.
“This include among others intensifying trades and investment, bolstering defense, and securing just and lasting peace in Mindanao, strengthening law enforcement against criminality, and ensuring maritime safety and security. Let us continue to work together to achieve goals of a more stable and secured region so that our nations and peoples can enjoy more peace, progress and prosperity,” he added.
For his part, Abe said his choice of the Philippines as his first overseas destination this year is a “testament to my primary emphasis on our bilateral relationship.”
“This is a tremendous honor for me to be invited as the very first foreign leader under your administration visiting Manila. Back in October, I welcomed Mr. President in Tokyo and I am delighted to be back in Manila to see you again and after only a short interval,” Abe said in his opening statement.
“And, moreover, tomorrow my wife and I will visit Davao, your home city, and that gives us a great pleasure,” he added.
The Japanese leader also expressed support for the Philippines’ chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit this year.
“And together with you, I am committed to elevating our bilateral relationship to a higher ground covering a wide-range of areas. And also let us work hand in hand in addressing various challenges of the Asia Pacific region,” Abe said.
“And I very much look forward to having a very candid discussion with Mr. President today,” he added.
Abe is in the country for a two-day official visit. He will also drop by Duterte’s hometown in Davao City on Friday. RAM
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