Duterte on Japan: ‘Closer than brother’



Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A “special friend who’s closer than a brother.” President Rodrigo Duterte had nothing but kind words for Japan as he and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a joint statement on Wednesday.

“Japan’s official development assistance for the Philippines is second to none,” Duterte said on his second day in Tokyo. Describing his visit as a “defining moment in solid, strategic partnership between the two countries,” Duterte mentioned various aspects of cooperation that were agreed upon — including respect for the rule of law, respect for basic human rights, and a free and open economy.

The two leaders also discussed continuous cooperation to maintain regional peace, stability and prosperity in the region — and the importance of a rules-based approach to the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes. Duterte also thanked Japan for its intention to provide high-speed boats and other equipment to enhance the Philippines’ anti-terrorism capabilities and the transfer of a TC-90s training aircraft. Meanwhile, Abe accepted “with pleasure” an offer from Duterte to visit the Philippines at a convenient time, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

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