Duterte back from 'productive, engaging' Japan trip

Defence officials call on Nth Korea to avoid 'provocations'

In a joint press briefing Monday with Prime Minister Abe in Tokyo, Duterte said: "Both sides agreed to ramp up further economic activities".

He declared that the Philippines and Japan were embarking on their "golden age of strategic partnership", as Abe promised maximum support for the rehabilitation of Marawi City and fleshed out the details of a 1 trillion yen aid package he promised the Philippines in January.

"I will skip two pages of my prepared speech and go to the last page because I am hungry", Duterte said, sending his audience in a laughing frenzy.

"It's a commitment founded on the democratic values we hold dear".

Duterte said the plegde will help the country's big-ticket infrastructure projects, such as the P355 billion (US$7.1 billion) subway project in Metro Manila.

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U.S. expert Yasushi Watanabe of Keio University noted that while this appeared to have taken a back seat over North Korea, the U.S. has demonstrated its commitment to the region by holding four freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea over five months.

"Together they called upon North Korea to refrain from irresponsible provocations that aggravate regional tensions, and to walk away from its destructive and reckless path of development", the statement said.

"We need to address many issues confronting the region and threats to the stability and security [in the] Asia-Pacific".

Abe congratulated Duterte for the leadership he exerted in dealing with the Marawi crisis and declared full support for the Philippine leader's approaches to fighting terrorism and bringing stability to Mindanao.

It would also consult with the government on building a society resilient to radicalism.

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Abe made the remarks during the dinner he hosted for the Philippine President and the rest of the Philippine delegation in the prime minister's residence that concluded Duterte's first day in Japan on Monday night. "The Philippines will work with Japan to build something special".

The trade chief mentioned that the USD6-billion business deals will be invested in sectors of manufacturing, particularly shipbuilding and iron and steel; agribusiness; power, particularly renewable energy; information and communications technology and IT-business process outsourcing; retail; transportation; and infrastructure.

"PRRD met several Japanese companies and witnessed several business-to-business memoranda of understanding and letters of intent on investment plans, joint ventures, and expansion of operations in the Philippines", he said.

Moreover, Lopez also had bilateral meeting with Japanese Trade and Industry Ministers Hiroshige Seko, in which they had discussions on boosting economic ties between the Philippines and Japan.

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