MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a bilateral meeting on Monday, November 13, with the Philippine leader reaffirming strong relations with Japan.
“There’s a thing here that says that I should reaffirm, and I am reaffirming this by — in the strongest possible language that we have a very strong bond. It’s almost a sentimental attachment for many years,” President Duterte said as he ditched his prepared speech for the event.
Duterte reiterated his appreciation for the support of Japan during the recent armed conflict in Marawi.
“We are aware that you have been helping us, especially in Marawi even during the siege and we appreciate it very much. In behalf of the people of Marawi, I’d like to thank you again,” he said.
He likewise expressed his gratitude to Abe for turning over trainer aircraft, machineries and radar to the Philippines.
He also thanked the Japanese government for making it possible for him to have an audience with Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko during his official visit in Japan last month.
“One of the things that I would maybe remember for all time,” he said of the rare opportunity to meet the imperial couple.
Duterte, meanwhile, expressed his support to Japan in its stance against North Korea condemning the latter’s missile launches, which he said are threats to global security.
“We have said it several times already in the past that it is not to the interest of North Korea to swagger around and threaten the world, of keeping us hostage with the atomic weapons,” he said.
“We condemn his several launching of missiles. It is bad. It puts a strain on everybody not only in Japan but all over the world. And he should realize that he’d be responsible for ending life in this planet if his mind goes out of control,” he added.
President Duterte and Prime Minister Abe also witnessed the exchange of notes between several agencies of the Philippines and Japan.
Among the exchange of notes witnessed by the leaders include the Metro Manila Subway project, Arterial Road Bypass Project Phase 3, and notes on the economic and social development program.
The economic and social development grant includes the provision of equipment for Marawi City rehabilitation for the Department of Public Works and Highways and coast watch radars to increase the Philippine anti-terrorism capabilities in West Mindanao for the Philippine Coast Guard.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Japan International Cooperation Agency Chief Representative in the Philippines Susumu Ito also had an exchange of loan agreement on Cavite Industrial Area Flood Risk Management Project. Department of National Defense Undersecretary for Finance, Ammunitions, Installations and Materials Raymundo Elefante and Commissioner Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency Yoshiyuki Suzuki also signed the Amended Letter of Arrangement on the transfer of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force trainer aircraft TC-90s. (PND)