PH, Ja­pan seal spe­cial friend­ship

PM Abe ‘closer to a brother’ – Duterte

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By GENALYN D. KABILING

Pres­i­dent Duterte and vis­it­ing Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe sealed yes­ter­day their “spe­cial friend­ship” with a vow and re­solve to fur­ther strengthen the “solid and strate­gic partnership” be­tween their two coun­tries.

The Pres­i­dent said he was over­whelmed with grat­i­tude for Ja­pan’s out­pour­ing gen­eros­ity and sup­port to the coun­try, from en­hanced in­vest­ment and de­vel­op­ment aid to the drug rehabilitation ef­forts.

“I am hum­bled by this demon­stra­tion of friend­ship and look for­ward to work­ing closely with Prime Min­is­ter Abe on all mat­ters of mu­tual in­ter­est,” said Duterte who de­scribed Abe “a friend closer to a brother.”

Dur­ing his two-day visit, Abe of­fered an aid pack­age worth one tril­lion yen (about P430 bil­lion) to the Philip­pines in in­vest­ment and in­fras­truc­ture de­vel­op­ment over the next five years.

Ja­pan also of­fered a 600 mil­lion yen (about P258 mil­lion) grant for high speed boats and other coun­tert­er­ror­ism equip- ment to boost the coun­try’s

mar­itime se­cu­rity. It also promised sup­port for the rehabilitation of drug of­fend­ers as well as peace and de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives in Min­danao.

Pres­i­dent Duterte said Abe’s his­toric visit to the Philip­pines has set the bar for “con­struc­tive en­gage­ments,” cit­ing Ja­pan’s eco­nomic and de­fense sup­port for the coun­try.

“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,” he said.

The Pres­i­dent also ac­knowl­edged that Abe’s visit to the Philip­pines was a “wel­come and a much awaited re­union.” The two lead­ers met in Tokyo in Oc­to­ber, 2016 when Duterte paid a visit upon Abe’s in­vi­ta­tion.

“By all ac­counts, that visit was a suc­cess, with both sides agree­ing to chart a com­mon path to­wards a deeper and even more mean­ing­ful en­gage­ment,” Duterte said.

“Prime Min­is­ter Abe’s pres­ence in Manila is proof positive that Ja­pan and the Philip­pines are fully com­mit­ted to bring this long stand­ing friend­ship and tried and tested partnership to even greater heights,” he added.

He said the two coun­tries are mov­ing for­ward “as only true friends can” fol­low­ing the sign­ing of agree­ments on mar­itime se­cu­rity, agri­cul­ture, among oth­ers.

“We are friends who treat each other with mu­tual re­spect and trust. We are friends who are bound by a shared com­mon re­solve to up­hold democ­racy, ad­her­ence to the rule of law and a peace­ful set­tle­ment of dis­putes,” he said.

“And we are friends who con­stantly seek to in­vig­o­rate re­la­tions through co­op­er­a­tion. In­deed, al­low me to say again that ours is a spe­cial friend­ship whose value is be­yond any mea­sure,” he added.

Af­ter hold­ing talks in Manila, the Prime Min­is­ter made a ca­sual and re­laxed trip to the Pres­i­dent’s home city of Davao where he was shown the world renowned Filipino hos­pi­tal­ity.

Abe, ac­com­pa­nied by his wife, vis­ited the Pres­i­dent’s mod­est house for a break­fast meet­ing; adopted a res­cued Philip­pine ea­gled named “Sakura;” and ate loads of durian and other lo­cal fruits.

“I would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to ex­press my heart­felt ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Pres­i­dent Duterte’s heart­felt ges­ture of wel­com­ing our Ja­panese peo­ple as fam­ily mem­bers here in the Philip­pines,” Abe said in his re­marks at the state ban­quet.

Abe is the first head of govern­ment to visit the Philip­pines dur­ing the term of Pres­i­dent Duterte. He is also the first world leader that Pres­i­dent Duterte wel­comed in Davao dur­ing his pres­i­dency.

Friend closer than a brother

Pres­i­dent Duterte had noth­ing but warm praises for Ja­pan dur­ing the state ban­quet hosted for Abe and his del­e­ga­tion. Duterte said he con­sid­ers Ja­pan “a friend closer than a brother” as he promised to fur­ther strengthen the coun­try’s strate­gic partnership with the long-time ally.

“In Tokyo, I said that Ja­pan de­serves its own right­ful place in the con­stel­la­tion of the Philip­pines’ friends,” he said about the coun­try’s largest source of de­vel­op­ment aid.

“Tonight, let me re­it­er­ate that Ja­pan is a friend closer than a brother. That means that Ja­pan is a friend un­like any other,” the Pres­i­dent said in his re­marks.

Pres­i­den­tial Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Op­er­a­tion Of­fice (PCOO) As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary Ana Marie Rafael Banaag said Pres­i­dent Duterte and PM Abe are not just friends but more like broth­ers.

Abe took a sneak peek of the sim­ple life of Pres­i­dent Duterte at his home in Dona Luisa Sub­di­vi­sion, in Matina, Davao City on Fri­day morn­ing. No one imag­ined that the pre­dom­i­nantly green house of the Pres­i­dent on Quimpo Boule­vard would have not one but two heads of govern­ment one morn­ing.

Kris Ablan, as­sis­tant sec­re­tary at the Pres­i­den­tial Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Of­fice, said that it was Pres­i­dent Duterte him­self who asked that the meet­ings be­tween Duterte and Abe in Davao City re­main as sim­ple as pos­si­ble. Duterte even chose to wear one of his trade­mark plaid shirts over the tra­di­tional Barong Ta­ga­log.

“They wanted to treat each other not only as friends but also as broth­ers,” Ablan said, cit­ing the dif­fer­ence in tone be­tween the heads of state from Thurs­day’s meet­ing in Mala­cañang to the Davao visit on Fri­day. For Dabawenyos, the visit of Abe to Davao City marked a chang­ing landscape. Davao was be­com­ing a once hid­den trea­sure wor­thy of a visit from a head of state.

Max­i­mum sup­port for ASEAN

Prime Min­is­ter Abe also promised to pro­vide max­i­mum sup­port to make East Asia Sum­mit and the ASEAN re­lated meet­ings “a tremen­dous suc­cess” this year.

“We sup­port the ASEAN in its at­tempt to strengthen unity and cen­tral­ity and to de­velop as a free and open com­mu­nity,” Abe said.

“From such a per­spec­tive, we will pro­vide max­i­mum sup­port to make the East Asia Sum­mit and the ASEAN Re­lated Meet­ings a tremen­dous suc­cess,” he added.

The East Asia Sum­mit (EAS) meet­ings are held af­ter the an­nual ASEAN Lead­ers’ Meet­ings which the Philip­pines will host this year.

The Philip­pines’ chair­man­ship of the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN) 2017 co­in­cides with the cel­e­bra­tion of 50th an­niver­sary of the 10-na­tion ASEAN.

ASEAN coun­tries in­clude the Philip­pines, Malaysia, Thai­land, In­done­sia, Viet­nam, Brunei, Myan­mar, Sin­ga­pore, Cam­bo­dia and last year’s ASEAN Sum­mit host Laos.

Aside from ASEAN coun­tries, EAS mem­bers are Ja­pan, Aus­tralia, China, In­dia, New Zealand, Rus­sia, South Korea, and United States.

Pres­i­den­tial Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Of­fice (PCO) Sec­re­tary Martin An­da­nar has said the ASEAN 2017 will serve as the per­fect oc­ca­sion to pro­mote the Philip­pines.

An­da­nar said over 100 sum­mits and con­fer­ences will be held na­tion­wide in­clud­ing the ASEAN Min­is­ters meet­ing in April; ASEAN Heads of States Sum­mit in Au­gust; and the ASEAN Heads of States Plus Three in No­vem­ber.

An­da­nar said at least 115.9 bil­lion will be spent for the host­ing of the ASEAN Sum­mit 2017.

The kick-off event of the ASEAN 2017 will be held on Jan­uary 15 at the SMX event cen­ter in Davao City where del­e­gates from ASEAN mem­ber coun­tries are ex­pected to at­tend. (With re­ports from AFP, AP, and PNA)

(Mala­cañng Photo)

‘DURIAN DIPLO­MACY’ – Ja­pan Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe (left) helps him­self to a bite of durian, re­garded in South­east Asia as ‘king of fruits,’ as Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo R. Duterte plays a gra­cious host at the Wa­ter­front Ho­tel in Davao City yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.