Duterte as confident as ever on return from Japan

Describes 3-day state visit as 'another defining moment' in relations; next stop Malaysia to discuss threats to security

Duterte as confident as ever on return from Japan

World Bulletin / News Desk

President Rodrigo Duterte arrived back in the Philippines on Thursday night to describe a three-day state visit to Japan as “another defining moment” in relations between the two countries.

In a televised speech from the southern city of Davao, Duterte said that meetings had been "productive" and specific gains were made in economics affairs and sociopolitical, security and defense cooperation.

He highlighted “freedom of navigation and overflight” as a key point of agreement -- key issues also covered with Chinese President Xi Jianping during last week's state visit to China.

Both the Philippines and Japan have longstanding disputes with China about areas of the South China Sea, which the Philippines refers to as the West Philippine Sea.

“It was clear to me that Japan is and will always remain a true friend of the Philippines," Duterte said, adding that it would remain a top trading partner.

"By all accounts and by any measures Philippines and Japan ties today are excellent and we agreed that we can take things to a higher level by harnessing our respective strengths and using these so both countries can have their economic strength further grown and then [Philippines] Congress can continue play their rightful role in the region," the president said.

Duterte underlined that both countries recognize the importance of vibrant, political and defense exchanges as they seek to build a stable and secure environment.

"In this regard, enhancing capabilities in maritime security, and maritime domain awareness is a key priority. Japan will play a vital role in modernizing the Philippines capacities as a nation with maritime interest to protect."

Duterte sees the acquisition of maritime and air capability assets as crucial in addressing traditional and emerging threats to the nation, including piracy, criminality at sea and terrorism as well as in responding to disasters.

"As countries shared the values of democracy, adherence to the rule of law and peaceful settlements of disputes, the Philippines and Japan agreed to work closely to advance the rules base region to maintain stability and security in our region."

 He underlined that everyone in the region and beyond has a stake in the Sea.

"Both governments committed to ensure the freedom of navigation and overweight in these waters. We have a bilateral and multi lateral venues at our disposal to ensure that commitments and responsibilities are complied with under international law including the 1982 United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS."

 Following the speech, Duterte told local reporters that he would visit Malaysia to complete his tri-nation tour, where he would raise the issue of piracy in adjoining seas.

Earlier in October, the Philippines struck a deal with Malaysia and Indonesia for joint air patrols to address threats to maritime security.

The three share maritime borders that have been under threat from Daesh-linked groups such as the Abu Sayyaf. Duterte has previously visited Indonesia, where he discussed security issues in the area with counterpart Joko Widodo.

"After this, I am going to talk to Malaysia. I am going there to complete the tour because those are the countries that really matter to me. Malaysia because of the Malacca Strait, because we have this piracy going on every now and then. It puts to shame everybody," the president said.

Duterte did not name those responsible, but in early September, he reiterated a directive to the military to "destroy" the Daesh-linked Abu Sayyaf and declared a state of lawlessness following a bombing in Davao City that left 14 people dead and more than 70 others wounded.

"No fingerpointing here, please, because my proposal is really like that, it's always the ultimate. Why would I waste [time] chasing you? I'll just blow you to pieces," he said.

 Last September, speaking to representatives of the Filipino community in Indonesia, Duterte also tackled the topic of piracy in the region.

"Feed them to the sharks. It would make them fat. Good for sashimi also," he said of those who take sailors hostage.  

Since 1991, the Abu Sayyaf -- armed with mostly improvised explosive devices, mortars and automatic rifles -- has carried out bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and extortions in a self-determined fight for an independent province in the Philippines.

It is notorious for beheading victims after ransoms have failed to be paid for their release. 

Last Mod: 28 Ekim 2016, 11:34
Add Comment