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Palace: PH-Japan ties stronger after Duterte trip

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte returned home early on Saturday  with the Palace saying his working visit in Japan was successful and placed Manila and Tokyo’s strategic partnership “on an even stronger footing.”

The President arrived at past 1 a.m. on Saturday after a four-day visit that saw him meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and taking part in the 25th Nikkei International Conference on the Future of Asia.

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In a statement, the Palace said President Duterte and Abe had agreed to “enhance bilateral cooperation in infrastructure development, trade and investments, agriculture, labor, defense maritime security and maritime domain awareness, people-to-people exchanges, and the pursuit of just and lasting peace and progress in Mindanao.”

Maritime security

The two leaders also discussed cooperation between them in upgrading Philippine defense capabilities, including maritime security and maritime domain awareness.

Also in their meeting, President Duterte and Abe discussed views on regional maritime security, nontraditional threats and advancing the rule of law in the disputed South China Sea, among others.

The President thanked Japan for its renewed support to his “Build, Build, Build” program as well as Tokyo’s fresh commitment to provide around 25 billion yen for the development of Mindanao.

Japan has expressed their support on the strengthening of the administrative capacity of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) and the disarmament of Moro fighters to promote peace in Mindanao.

Mindanao peace process

“The government of Japan will continue our strong support for projects actively being promoted by President Duterte, such as the peace process in Mindanao and infrastructure development,” Abe said on Friday.

Abe noted that the “Mindanao peace process entered into a new stage with the establishment of the BTA.”

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“In the initial stage, I believe the priority lies in the strengthening of the administrative capacity of the BTA and the facilitation of disarmament of soldiers of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” Abe said during a joint press briefing with President Duterte.

He assured that Japan would strengthen its support “attuned to the progress of the peace process so that the people of Mindanao can truly feel and enjoy the peace dividend at the earliest possible time.”

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TAGS: Duterte's Japan trip, H-Japan relations, Rodrigo Duterte, Shinzo Abe
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