President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday conveyed to visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono his wish to see Prime Minister Shinzo Abe again to discuss “shared concerns” and ways to improve bilateral ties.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said at a press briefing that the President made his wish known to Kono during their hour-long meeting in Davao City on Saturday.
Abe visited the President in the city in January 2017, the first head of state to meet with him after he took office in July 2016.
No plan to visit Japan
Asked whether the President planned to visit Japan, Panelo said: “No, he just expressed his willingness to meet [with] the Prime Minister. We will be waiting of course for the response of the Prime Minister.”
In his meeting with Kono, the President thanked the minister for inaugurating Japan’s consulate general in Davao, Panelo said.
The President described the new consulate as “significantly expanding Japan’s presence and ties in the southern Philippines,” he said.
“The President likewise lauded Japan, which he described as a true friend and proven partner, for its involvement in the Philippines’ Build, Build, Build program, and highlighted the quality of the infrastructure projects, as well as the transfer of technology and training… that would benefit Filipino practitioners and experts,” Panelo said.
For his part, Kono conveyed Japan’s commitment to “further deepen and expand cooperation with the Philippines.”
Kono said Abe expressed grave concern over the bomb attack on the Catholic cathedral in Jolo, Sulu province, and Japan’s “condemnation of violent extremism.”
Panelo said Kono also reiterated Japan’s continued support for the Philippines’ quest for just and lasting peace and development in Mindanao.
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