Philippines sees Japan as ‘most important partner country’ — PH envoy
TOKYO — The Philippines and Japan’s relations remain “very amiable, friendly and cooperative” despite Beijing’s growing influence over Manila in the region.
Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel also described Japan as the “most important partner country in the world.”
“Well, in general, the relationship between the Philippines and Japan has been heightened to a very, very amiable, friendly and cooperative situation now,” Laurel said in a taped interview.
“From the political side, the situation is very amiable, we do not have problems with Japan,” he added.
The envoy said Japan has been a “very big contributor” to the economic growth of the country as Duterte continues to seek foreign investments in the region.
“Japan has become a very, very big contributor to the economic development of our country. The programs of ‘Build, Build, Build’ has been embraced by Japan insofar as helping us,” he said.
‘Build, Build, Build’ is the multibillion flagship infrastructure project of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration seen to boost economic activities and provide a livelihood to Filipinos.
Laurel said Japan has “extended tremendous amounts of resources, particularly funding on the subway and the train.”
Aside from economic gains, Laurel said Japan has likewise extended defense and security assistance to the Philippines.
“As to defense, we have been cooperating with them, and they have been completely cooperating with us. In particular number one, providing us the equipment, particularly ships and airplanes, jet planes and helicopters,” he said.
He said Japan has also “extended agreements on training and cooperation of our officers and men in the security aspect.”
“So the relationship of Japan is totally from its breadth from left to right, the most important partner country in the world second to none. And that is the answer that you would wish to hear and this is where we are right now,” he said.
Duterte is visiting Japan this week for the third time to attend the Nikkei’s 25th International Conference on The Future of Asia on May 30 to 31.
The 74-year old President is expected to arrive here on Tuesday night with his Cabinet officials.
He is scheduled to have a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and meet the Filipino community here.
He will give a keynote speech before business delegates in the Nikkei forum on May 31.
The official delegation of the President include Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin,
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Science Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio, Jr., Economic Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Communications Secretary Jose Ruperto Martin Andanar, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo and Peace Secretary Carlito Galvez. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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