TOKYO – Grateful for its support and generosity all these years, President Duterte has pledged that the Philippines would “not abandon” its “long-standing friend and ally” Japan.
Amid his hostility against the United States and overtures towards China, the President said he would keep the country’s strong bilateral and economic relations with Japan, a major ally of Washington in the region.
“As every relationships are alienated in this world, we seek only peace and friendship but I give you my word today that we will not abandon Japan in our partnership and security matters,” he said during the luncheon hosted by Japanese businessmen at the Prince Hotel here.
“Japan is an old and reliable friend and this is the special friendship that we hope to keep and continue to honor,” Duterte added.
The President acknowledged that the Philippines-Japan strategic partnership has worked “very well” as both countries have gained much and will continue to benefit from it.
“You contribute to the growth of your industries and your economy as you have done with ours,” he said.
The President’s resolve to keep the Philippine-Japan alliance came amid his recent announcement of “separation” from the United States due to its unfair treatment of the Philippines. While he has grown hostile towards the long-time Western nation, the President has made a pivot towards China and forged closer economic ties despite a lingering maritime conflict.
Both the Philippines and Japan are locked in territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea and the East China Asia, respectively.
In the same speech, the President pushed for a peaceful resolution of territorial conflicts in the region, assuring the Philippines will remain a “partner” of maritime safety.
Duterte said he believes that Manila and Tokyo share a common belief that “conflicts and problems with other nations must be resolved peacefully, in accordance with international law.”
“We would also be a partner and a player of maritime safety, maritime security anytime and that we would like to avoid at all costs violence because we have to resolve it peacefully and in accordance with international law,” the President said. “In all of these endeavors, we will be your partner and we will stand by our word.”
The President thanked Japan for its crucial support to the Philippines on economic development and the peace process in Mindanao, among others.
He also expressed hope that Tokyo would continue to support Manila while asking Japanese investors to consider possible investments in the country.
“We count on Japan to further extend is valuable support in our pursuits for promoting rural development, increasing agriculture productivity, accelerating infrastructure spending, and investing in human capital development,” he said.
(GENALYN D. KABILING)