Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the press. I am pleased to provide you with an overview of the President’s visit to Tokyo next week in connection with his participation in the 25th Nikkei Conference on the Future of Asia.
I will also provide some updates on the President’s official engagements with Japanese Prime Minister Abe.
Upon the invitation of the Nikkei Inc., the President is participating in this year’s conference. This will mark the President’s third visit to Japan since assuming office on the heels of his official visits in October 2016 and October 2017.
The Nikkei Conference on the Future of Asia is an annual meeting held in Tokyo. This conference gathers government and business leaders to share their respective assessment of Asia’s prospects and their ideas as to the direction Asia should chart for itself. With its solid track record of featuring Asian leaders and speakers, the conference has earned a reputation of being one of Asia’s top foreign policy in economic fora.
This year’s 25th conference will be held on May 30-31 at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. Under the theme “Seeking a New Global Order — Overcoming the Chaos,” the President will deliver a keynote address on May 31.
Other Asian leaders are also invited and confirmed to address the conference including Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad of Malaysia, Prime Minister Sheik Hasina of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Prime Minister Hun Sen of the Kingdom of Cambodia, and Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The deputy prime ministers of Vietnam and Singapore will also be in attendance along with ministers from Japan, Brunei, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia.
Immediately after delivering his address, the President will proceed to his bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Abe. This will be the 7th meeting between the two leaders taking place roughly about half a year since their meeting in November 2018 at the sidelines of the 33rd ASEAN Summit in Singapore.
This will be an opportunity for both leaders to take stock of the progress of the strengthened strategic partnership between the Philippines and Japan in broad areas of our mutually beneficial cooperation.
Thank you very much.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
Q: Yes, good morning sir Alden Monzon from Kyodo News. Sir, what will be discussed during the bilateral meeting, sir?
ASEC. MONTEALEGRE: Well, the President’s summit meeting with Prime Minister Abe as I mentioned earlier this is the 7th since 2016, will be an opportunity for the two leaders to take stock of the progress of our strengthened strategic partnership in such areas as defense and security, economic cooperation, infrastructure development, the entry of Filipino skilled workers to Japan, Japanese assistance for the development of the Bangsamoro region, as well as exchange views on regional issues of mutual concern including the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea.
Q: Sir, may we know the official delegation? Sino-sino po ‘yung magiging kasama ng Pangulo sa pagpunta sa Japan?
ASEC. MONTEALEGRE: Well, aside from the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, I am — I understand that the President’s economic team and security managers will accompany the President in this visit. But I defer to the Office of the President on the announcement on the final composition of the President’s delegation.
Q: Sir, during his speech at the Nikkei conference, what are the expected highlights of President Duterte’s address?
ASEC. MONTEALEGRE: Thank you very much. Well, the President will likely assert Asia’s role in charting its own future even as we affirmed the larger international frameworks and mechanisms that have given birth through the Asian century we now enjoy.
He will likely also highlight how address thing — addressing domestic imperatives provides the conditions by which we will collectively shape Asia’s future.
Q: And also sir, will President Duterte get a chance to meet the Filipino community during his visit, sir?
ASEC. MONTEALEGRE: There are preparations for the possible meeting with the Filipino community. Details of which are being finalized.
Q: So it’s very likely sir that he will have a Filipino community meeting?
ASEC. MONTEALEGRE: It’s being arranged.
Q: Sir, there are — as you said there are also several heads of state that will — who will participate in the Nikkei conference. Will there be any bilateral talks scheduled between them and President Duterte, sir?
ASEC. MONTEALEGRE: We have not received any official request from any participating heads of states of the government at this stage.
Q: So nobody have signified their interests, sir?
ASEC. MONTEALEGRE: None at the moment.
Q: Thank you, sir.
Q: Sir, Arriane Merez from ABS-CBN News. Sir, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez earlier said that the Philippines is eyeing to sign at least 10 deals with Japanese firms. Will the President witness the signing of these deals po ba?
ASEC. MONTEALEGRE: I understand there will be no witnessing — there will be no agreements to be witnessed by the two leaders.
But there are as you said, DTI is arranging business-to-business arrangements. So I defer to them on these details.
Q: Okay thank you, sir.
Q: Are we expecting agreements between Japan and the Philippines, sir?
ASEC. MONTEALEGRE: There will be no agreements to be signed during this particular visit. The — the meeting between the two leaders is the key takeaway of this particular visit.
Q: All right.
Q: Sir, you mentioned earlier that President Duterte and PM Abe will be discussing security and defense matters during their bilateral meeting including the South China Sea, am I right sir?
ASEC. MONTEALEGRE: Yes.
Q: Okay, sir. What particular issues will be raised by the President or will the President seek support of Japan noting the continued aggression of China in the disputed sea?
ASEC. MONTEALEGRE: Well, the peace and stability in the region is a mutual concern to both the Philippines and Japan. And the South China Sea is central in this regard.
So the Philippines for its part has always affirmed its commitment to uphold the principles of freedom of navigation and overflight, freedom of commerce and other lawful activities, exercise of self-restraint and the peaceful resolution of disputes.
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Source: PCOO-PND (Presidential News Desk)