President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Joint Press Statement with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
Reception Hall, Malacañang
12 January 2017

PRESIDENT DUTERTE: His Excellency Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, distinguished members of the Japan delegation, colleagues in the Philippine government, friends, ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you for joining us this afternoon. Prime Minister Abe and I just concluded a productive meeting where we discussed the ways for further strengthening of bilateral ties.

As proven defense and long time partners, the Philippines and Japan are committed to further expand and deepen our relations across a broad range of areas. We had an active discussion on enhancing of maritime and security cooperation.

As maritime nations, the Philippines and Japan have a shared interest in keeping our waters safe and secure from threats of any kind.

Capacity-building and assets acquisition and upgrading will be a centerpiece of this collaboration. We hope to fast-track the delivery of the Philippine of key assets already in the pipeline and the acquisition of new ones.
As we seek these new innovations to the Philippines’ capabilities, we will continue to forge ahead with our efforts to advance the rule of law in order to secure the waters in our regions.

Peace and development in the southern Philippines continue to be a priority for our countries. We both reaffirmed the need to ramp-up efforts to bring just and lasting peace and development in Mindanao.

Japan is a proven partner for peace in Mindanao and it will continue to be one. For Japan’s demonstrated and sustained support to bring peace to our people in Mindanao, we are grateful.

We also sought to further strengthen economic cooperation. We instructed our respective agencies to seek new areas of collaboration as well as to work on fulfilling the agreements signed in Tokyo last year during my visit.

As part of those efforts, we are encouraging our business sectors to intensify two-way trade and investments. In fact, later today and in Davao, Prime Minister Abe and I will meet with the key business leaders.

Also, we both agreed to work together in pursuing a comprehensive approach in the war against the illegal drugs trade. As the Philippines pursues its campaign to destroy illegal drugs trade apparatus, we welcome the expressed interest of Japan to support measures to address the tremendous social cause of drug addiction, this includes rehabilitation.

Later today, the Philippines and Japan will sign agreements that show the whole range of our collaboration and cooperation in the fields of shared mutual interest.

I am pleased to welcome Prime Minister Abe to Manila. As you all must and should be aware, he is the very first head of government to officially visit the Philippines under my term. And tomorrow, Prime Minister Abe will be the first leader that I will receive in Davao as President.

By any measure, this visit is historic and sets the bar for constructive engagements. If my visit to Tokyo defined the solid and strategic partnerships of the Philippines and Japan then Prime Minister Abe’s visits to Manila and Davao renew the commitment to further strengthen the solid and strategic partnership toward greater peace, progress, and prosperity.

I am humbled by this demonstration of friendship and look forward to working closely with Prime Minister Abe on all matters of mutual interest.

Thank you and good afternoon.

PRIME MINISTER ABE: I am grateful for the heartwarming invitation and hospitality that has been extended to me by President Duterte. I am very happy to meet with the President here in Manila so soon after his visit to Japan last year in October and I am very honored to be the first guest and to be received by President Duterte in Davao.

As the first guest in Davao City, let me correct, the interpreter would like to correct herself.

I chose the Philippines as the first destination of my overseas visits of the year. This is demonstration of the fact that I place much emphasis on my relationship with President Duterte and with the Philippines.

This year, the Philippines will have the chairmanship of the ASEAN, which celebrates its 50th anniversary. We support the ASEAN in its attempt to strengthen unity and centrality and to develop as a free and open community. From such a perspective, we will provide maximum support to make the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN-Related Meetings a tremendous success.

At the meeting today, we confirmed that both countries, which share common values and strategic interests, will cooperate hand-in-hand for the stability and prosperity of the region. The following are the key outcomes:

First, for the further development of the Philippines, we will create business opportunities through ODA and private sector investments which together will be of the order of one trillion yen over the next five years. The joint committee on economic cooperation and infrastructure will be launched through which both the private and public sectors will provide a strong underpinning for nation building.

Second, we will leverage Japanese technology and know-how to the fullest extent to positively cooperate for the improvement of infrastructure in Metro Manila and the whole of the Philippines.

Third, we will continue to provide positive support for the peace and development of Mindanao. A decision has been taken to start studies for the urban development and flood control of Davao City.

Fourth, we welcome the signing of the exchange of notes on the provision of high-speed boats as part of the measures on security and counterterrorism. We will strengthen cooperation in the area of counterterrorism in order to realize a society in which it is possible for youths to entertain hopes.

Fifth, on countering illegal drugs. We want to work together with the Philippines to think of relevant measures of support. For our part, Japan will tap among others, knowledge of the private sector to assist in the improvement of related facilities, formulation of treatment programs and in other areas.

Sixth, both countries being maritime nations, Japan will enhance support for capacity-building in the field of maritime security.

We also had a firm exchange of views on the regional landscape and agreed to elevate cooperative relations to a higher level to address not only bilateral issues but also to work toward a resolution of regional challenges.

The issue of the South China Sea is linked directly to regional peace and stability and is a concern to the entire international community. I welcome the fact that President Duterte is making efforts to improve China-Philippine relations in light of the arbitral award. The significance of the rule of law, peaceful resolution of disputes and non-militarization has been confirmed at ASEAN-Related Meetings last year. Keeping in mind this year’s ASEAN-Related Meetings, we affirmed the importance of these.

On the nuclear and missile development by North Korea, we agreed on the importance of the rigorous enforcement of the related UN Security Council resolutions including those to be newly adopted. Those of renewed confirmation of cooperation toward the early resolution of the adoption issue.

On RCEP or Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, we agreed that we would continue cooperation toward the conclusion of a quality agreement.

On the invitation extended to me by President Duterte, I shall visit his hometown of Davao tomorrow as the first foreign head of government to do so. Together with the President, I look forward to further enhancing friendly ties between our two nations and to cooperate towards regional stability and prosperity.

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