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Palace says Duterte-Abe bilateral talks in Singapore ‘productive, fruitful’

By Prince Golez

Malacanang on Friday described the bilateral meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as “productive” and “fruitful.”

Duterte and Abe held talks yesterday at the sidelines of the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit in Singapore.

“During the meeting, Prime Minister Abe underscored Japan’s commitment to further enhancing its partnership with the Philippines. He then proceeded to commend the Duterte administration’s key policies and programs,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

“The Japanese leader congratulated the Philippines for passing the Bangsamoro Organic Law, as he conveyed Japan’s intention to strengthen cooperation in line with the progress of the peace process. President Duterte for his part thanked Japan for contributing to the peace and development in Mindanao, particularly in the rehabilitation of Marawi,” added Panelo.

Japan, the spokesman said, also reaffirmed its support for the Philippines’ infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program.

Meanwhile, Panelo said both leaders discussed developments in the disputed South China Sea, during which Duterte vowed 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.

“The Palace is confident that this ‘golden age’ of the Philippine-Japan relations, which is a result of the Duterte administration’s cautious, pragmatic, diplomatic yet independent foreign policy, would continue to yield great benefits for the country and improve the lives of our people,” he said.

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