Duterte lands in Japan for meeting with PH’s ‘true friend’

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President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech at the Davao City International Airport on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, shortly before leaving for Japan for a two-day visit. (Photo from an RTVM video)

Tokyo — President Duterte arrived in Japan early Monday morning for his two-day state visit.

Mr. Duterte, who touched down in Tokyo 2:45 am, was welcomed by Japan’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs Kazuyuki Nakane, Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V, and Deputy Chief of Mission Eduardo Menez.

His partner Cielito “Honeylet” Avancena and daughter Veronica accompanied him on the trip.

The members of his official delegation are  Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, and Laurel.

Mr. Duterte is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday afternoon. He is the first leader from Southeast Asia to visit Tokyo after Abe’s victory in the recently-concluded snap elections.

The President said he was looking forward to meeting Abe, who he described as the Philippines’ “true friend.”

“I will convey to him the gratitude of our nation for Japan’s steadfast and unprecedented support for our country, our people, and our government,” he said in his departure statement.

Also on the agenda of their meeting are regional security issues, including North Korea’s nuclear buildup and the disputes in the South China Sea.

He plans to discuss with Abe the ways to advance the Philippines’ and Japan’s strong bilateral relationship, especially on matters involving socio-economic development, peace and progress in Mindanao, and the build-up of modern infrastructures in our country,” he added.

Before meeting Abe, Mr. Duterte will witness the signing of letters of intent between Philippine officials and Japanese business leaders. He will also meet with Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Japan International Cooperation Agency President Shinichi Kitaoka today. /cbb

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