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Manila, Tokyo ink 5 deals

TOKYO – The Philippines and Japan have inked five landmark economic and defense accords, including Tokyo’s commitment to provide additional military aircraft and sea vessels to Manila.

The agreements were sealed shortly after President Duterte and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to strengthen strategic partnership and collaborate on keeping regional peace and stability during a meeting in Tokyo yesterday.

“My meeting the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was productive and fruitful. We reaffirmed strong ties between our countries and peoples and resolved to make that friendship and partnership even stronger,” Duterte said in a joint press conference at the Prime Minister’s office.

“We agreed to collaborate on political, security, and defense issues in order to create an enabling environment for our economies to grow,” said Duterte, describing Japan as a “special friend closer than a brother.”

Topping the list of bilateral agreements is the official development assistance loan offered by the Japan International Cooperation Agency for the two large scale patrol ships to the Philippines.

This would be in addition to the 10 vessels Japan has agreed to give the Philippine Coast Guard as part of maritime safety capability improvement project.

Another memorandum of implementation was signed on the transfer of the TC-90 military aircraft to the Philippines.

The pact includes Japan’s willingness to train Philippine Navy pilots and improve capability of its infrastructure. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)