Duterte-Abe meeting tackles cooperation in multiple areas

MANILA The bilateral meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tackled several topics such as recent disasters, the South China Sea Code of Conduct, and areas for cooperation, MalacaAang said on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the bilateral meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the 35th Asean Summit and Related Summits in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday underscored the stronger strategic partnership between the two nations.

During their meeting, Panelo said Duterte congratulated the recent enthronement of Emperor Naruhito but also expressed sympathy for the destruction and loss caused by Typhoon Hagibis and a fire that engulfed the world heritage site, Shuri castle.

Abe in turn expressed condolences and sympathy in light of the series of earthquakes that occurred in Mindanao, he added.

Duterte also thanked Abe for granting consent to open a Philippine consulate in Nagoya.

Both leaders touched on subjects of regional and international concern, such as the issue surrounding the South China Sea and the situation in the Korean Peninsula.

On the South China Sea issue, both leaders discussed the drafting of the Code of Conduct to address tensions in the affected region while on the situation in the Korean Peninsula, both leaders talked about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's latest ballistic missile launch and the longstanding issue of abduction of Japanese nationals, Panelo said.

Duterte and Abe also discussed a wide range of areas for cooperation, such as the peace process in Mindanao, the Build, Build, Build infrastructure projects (with emphasis on the eagerly-awaited Metro Manila Subway), and the development of Subic Bay.

Also tackled were the dispatch of Filipino skilled labor force to Japan, agricultural trade (including tariffs of Philippine bananas and other fruits), the issue of comfort women, and the participation of Japan-trained Filipino gymnast Carlos Yulo in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

BARMM assistance

Duterte, meanwhile, expressed his gratitude to Japan for its assistance in the creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

In particular, he thanked Japan for funding the Road Network Development Project, which connects the BARMM to Mindanao's other trade centers and supports the region's overall development.

Japan has supported the Mindanao peace process and continues to support the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

It also made a commitment to the implementation of the disarmament of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) combatants and the grant of socioeconomic development assistance to the Bangsamoro people.

Duterte thanked Japan for assisting the Philippines in developing its infrastructures and enhancing its defense capability.

I would like to give our heartfelt thanks for the Manila subway. It's the first in the country and you are the only country who proposed to give it to us, Duterte said.

I would like to again thank you for the air assets, the five TC-90s, UH-1H, we received from your government, he added.

Last month, Duterte was unable to attend Abe's gala dinner in Tokyo, Japan due to some pressing matters in the Philippines.

Duterte, who was in Tokyo to attend the enthronement ceremony of Japanese Emperor Naruhito, had to cut short his visit to Tokyo after suffering from unbearable back pain due to a minor motorcycle accident.

He arrived in Manila on Monday after what Panelo described as a fruitful participation in the 35th Asean Summit and Related Summits. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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