Duterte, Abe eye higher level of PHL-Japan relations

MANILA, -- Philippines and Japan are eyeing to further elevate bilateral relationships as President Rodrigo Duterte welcomed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in MalacaAang Thursday at the start of the latter's two-day state visit to the country.

The state visit of the Japanese leader came just two months after President Duterte visited Tokyo in October last year.

In his welcome statement, Duterte said the nation is pleased to host his Japanese counterpart as this is the very first official visit of a head of state under his administration.

"This demonstrates the shared commitment to further strengthen our important and valued strategic partnership. Your Excellency, I look forward to a most productive meeting today," the President said.

Duterte said that the two leaders now have the opportunity to identify ways of building on agreements that were made in October on a wide range of issues that will benefit the peoples of both nations.

This include among others intensifying trade and investments, bolstering defense, securing just and lasting peace and development in Mindanao, strengthening law enforcement against criminality and ensuring maritime safety and security.

"Let us continue to work together to achieve the goals of a more stable and secured region so that our nations and peoples can enjoy more peace, progress and prosperity," Duterte said.

For his part, Abe said he was also honored to be invited as the very first foreign leader under the present administration to visit Manila.

The Japanese leader, who is on a six-day four-nation official travel, said he chose the Philippines as his first destination this year.

"This is a testament to my primary emphasis on our bilateral relationship with the Philippines," Abe said.

The Prime Minister said that he is ready to fully support President Duterte's ASEAN Chairmanship for a successful ASEAN-Related Summit Meetings and the East Asia Summit this year.

"Together with you, I am committed to elevating our bilateral relationship to a higher ground covering a wide-range of areas. Let us work hand in hand in addressing various challenges of the Asia Pacific region," Prime Minister Abe said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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