Duterte, Abe condemn North Korea missile tests

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FILE – Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shares a light moment with Mr. Duterte on Oct. 26, 2016. —AFP

TOKYO— President Duterte and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned North Korea’s ballistic missile tests and called on parties to open negotiations to put a stop to these threats following their meeting on Monday.

The two leaders agreed to address the many issues confronting the region, especially threats to stability and security in the Asia Pacific.

They seek a peaceful end to the matter and called for talks to be held, said Mr. Duterte.

“Foremost among our shared concern are developments in the Korean peninsula and the continuing missile launch tests of North Korea,” Mr. Duterte said as he issued a joint statement with Abe.

“We condemn these tests and call on all concerned stakeholders to return to the negotiating table to peacefully resolve the situation,” he added.

Abe also said Japan and the Philippines would cooperate to address common issues, such as North Korea’s nuclear and missile issues.

North Korea’s missile tests has been a pressing issue in Japan, especially after the hermit state fired a ballistic missile over Hokkaido in September amid growing concern from the international community over its actions.

Abe also said the Philippines and Japan would work together to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific, and would cooperate to bring about peace and prosperity in the region.

The two countries would cooperate as well on countermeasures to address terrorism and illegal drugs, he said.

Noting that the Philippines is chairing the Association of Southeast Asian Nation on its 50th year, Abe said Japan would fully support the regional bloc’s attempts to strengthen unity and centrality, and develop as a free and open community.

He also vowed to support Mr. Duterte as Asean chair.

Mr. Duterte visited Abe’s residence on Monday as part of his two-day official visit to Japan.

The two leaders had a summit meeting and a tete a tete before issuing their statements.

Abe also hosted dinner for the Philippine President on Monday evening.

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