Duterte invites Japanese PM Suga to visit Philippines | Global News
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Duterte invites Japanese PM Suga to visit Philippines

/ 03:10 PM December 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte invited Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide to visit the Philippines “as soon as circumstances allow.”

Duterte extended his invitation during a 25-minute “tele-summit” between the two leaders on Monday, according to a press statement released by the Office of the President (OP).

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“Japan is a valued partner of the Philippines. As a friend closer than a brother, ours is an exemplary partnership that has withstood the test of time,” Duterte was quoted as saying in the OP press release.

Next year, the two countries will mark 65 years of diplomatic ties and a decade of Strategic Partnership.

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Duterte thanked Japan for its consistent support for the peace and development agenda in Mindanao and the administration’s “Build Build Build” program, citing the 36-kilometer Metro Manila Subway, which is funded through a loan provided by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Duterte also conveyed appreciation for Japan’s $3.16 million emergency assistance, two substantial loans for the Philippines’ pandemic recovery efforts, and for facilitating the repatriation of 3,852 Filipinos from Japan during the coronavirus pandemic.

He likewise noted the growing maritime security and defense cooperation between the Philippines and Japan, as he exchanged views with Suga on regional issues, involving the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula.

For his part, Suga conveyed Japan’s interest to work closely with the Philippines to promote a “Free and Open Indo-Pacific.”

He also reiterated Japan’s support for the Philippines’ Build, Build, Build program, and the Mindanao peace process.

The Japanese leader likewise expressed hope that the establishment of the Consulate General of Japan in Cebu in January 2021 will further strengthen Philippines-Japan bilateral relations.

KGA
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TAGS:  Suga Yoshihide, bilateral ties, Diplomacy, Japan, Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte
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