DAVAO CITY, Oct. 27 (PNA) — President Rodrigo Duterte is returning home tonight from his three-day official visit to Japan, bringing with him the reaffirmation of strong ties with the Philippines’ Asian neighbor.
Duterte is expected to arrive at the Davao International Airport where he will be accorded military honors.
The President has described his visit to Tokyo and meetings with Japanese officials as “productive and fruitful.”
“This visit has been a defining moment on the solid and strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan,” said a joint statement issued by President Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who both committed to work closely to ensure that shared objectives are accomplished.
These include increasing two-way trade and investments, especially in agriculture and manufacturing, and the development of quality infrastructure and transport systems crucial to sustaining the Philippines’ economic growth.
The two leaders also agreed to collaborate on political, security, and defense issues that would create an enabling environment for economies to grow.
Duterte said one of the agreements is to continue to harness Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA), which has had a positive impact on the lives of Filipinos.
He said ODA is “second to none” in terms of real value and impact on Filipinos, adding it is a tool to bring about positive economic and structural changes in the Philippines.
“Japan will continue to play an important role in modernizing the capabilities of the Philippines for maritime domain awareness and maritime security, as well as in humanitarian relief and disaster risk reduction response. We welcome the ongoing new initiatives by Japan that support the Philippine government’s effort to realize Mindanao’s full potential,” he said.
Duterte also said he is grateful for Japan’s support and commitment to take an active role in relevant meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which the Philippines will chair next year.
“This is an important leadership role for the Philippines as we seek fully to realize the goal and rules-based, people-oriented and people-centered ASEAN,” he said.
Duterte said Japan will be a crucial ASEAN dialogue partner in ensuring efforts to strengthen adherence to the rule of law as the bedrock of stable and secure relations in the ASEAN region and beyond.
He also promised to work closely with Japan on issues of common concern, such as the peaceful settlement of disputes, including that in the South China Sea.
Abe, for his part, said Japan and the Philippines are important partners as both share the fundamental values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.
He said they agreed to raise the two countries’ bilateral relationship of cooperation to a level higher than before.
“Both Japan and the Philippines are maritime nations and support to enhance maritime safety capability will be strengthened. I am very happy that we have just signed the documents covering the transfer of large patrol vessels, as well as the letter of arrangement on the transfer of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force trainer aircraft TC-90s,” he said.
Abe welcomed the agreement on the promotion of agriculture for the consolidation of peace in Mindanao, expressing Japan’s support for President Duterte’s endeavors in bringing peace to Mindanao.
The two leaders also committed to the transfer of high-speed small vessels and equipment for counter-terrorism efforts; infrastructure development, including in the field of information and communication technology; exploration of peace and stability, including issues on North Korea and the South China Sea, which Abe said is a matter of interest before the entire global community that is directly linked to regional peace and stability. (PNA)