President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday made renewed commitment to further deepen their strategic partnership to address challenges of mutual interest such as peace and security, infrastructure development, and the coronavirus pandemic.
“Japan is unrivaled among our bilateral partners,” said President Duterte during his telephone conversation with Prime Minister Kishida, acknowledging Japan’s support for the administration’s Build, Build, Build program, the peace process and grassroots development in Mindanao and the ongoing transition process of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
A statement released by the Palace quoted the President saying Japan has shown that it is “indeed a friend closer than a brother” through its timely assistance in the Philippines’ COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery efforts.
At the same time, President Duterte said he looks forward to seeing the successful implementation of projects and activities aimed at enhancing Philippines-Japan cooperation in maritime security, particularly maritime domain awareness, maritime connectivity and preservation of the marine environment.
The Philippine President also congratulated Kishida on his election and the government of Japan on the success of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games.
For his part, the Japanese prime minister said that Philippines-Japan relations have indeed reached its golden age under President Duterte’s administration, adding Japan will continue supporting the Philippines’ peace and development agenda in Mindanao, Build, Build, Build program and efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also conveyed his government’s readiness to further strengthen Philippines-Japan partnership in maritime security, including extending support in upgrading the country’s maritime law enforcement capabilities.
Also during the phone conversation, the two leaders agreed on the necessity to pursue deeper security engagement and coordination by launching a Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting or 2+2 meeting.
They also expressed similar views on the need to undertake an exchange of visits at a mutually agreed time to further reaffirm the Philippines-Japan partnership and personal friendship.
Regional developments and multilateral issues, including the South China Sea, the Myanmar situation, the Korean Peninsula and nuclear nonproliferation were also tackled during the telephone conversation.
The Philippines and Japan celebrate this year two milestones – 65 years of normalized diplomatic relations and 10 years of Strengthened Strategic Partnership. PND