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Philippines and Japan issue joint statement

Issued in Tokyo, 26 October 2016
On the invitation of the Government of Japan, His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte, President of the Republic of the Philippines, undertook an Official Visit to Japan from 25 to 27 October 2016.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and His Excellency Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a productive Summit Meeting in a friendly, forward-looking and constructive atmosphere. With a view to further promoting the “Strategic Partnership” of the Philippines and Japan as two maritime countries bound by shared basic values, the two leaders state the following:
1. The two leaders recognized the visit of President Duterte as a significant visit, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relationship between the two countries. The visit is an important milestone in the bilateral relationship which highlights the depth of bilateral relations and further enhances exchanges and cooperation.
2. With the aim of sustaining a peaceful and active relationship between the East Asian and Southeast Asian regions, the two leaders reaffirmed that the two countries fully commit to further strengthening the Strategic Partnership based on such common values as freedom, democracy, the rule of law, respect for basic human rights, and a free and open economy. They also discussed continuous cooperation of the two countries to strengthen the bilateral relationship and to maintain regional peace and stability.
3. The two leaders shared the recognition that the security environment in the region is faced with many challenges, and decided to further collaborate to maintain peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.
4. The two leaders affirmed that the two countries share common interests in maintaining and promoting peace, stability and prosperity regionally and globally as maritime nations in Asia.
5. The two leaders emphasized the need to ensure maritime safety and security which are vital elements for the peace, stability and continued prosperity of both countries and of the region.
6. The two leaders affirmed Japan’s significant contributions over the years to the efforts of the Philippines to strengthen its maritime capabilities through human resource development, capacity-building assistance and provision of patrol vessels and other equipment for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), taking into account the long history of cooperation between the Japan Coast Guard and the PCG. On that basis, they shared the intention to further cooperate in various areas of common interest for maritime security and safety.
7. The two leaders welcomed the signing of the Exchange of Notes on Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan for the two large-scale patrol vessels to the Philippines as well as the steady progress in the provision of ten patrol vessels, which Japan had already decided to provide. President Duterte expressed his appreciation for Japan’s continuous support in this field.
8. The two leaders also welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Implementation and Letter of Arrangement for the transfer of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)’s training aircraft TC-90s. Prime Minister Abe expressed his intention to continue enhancing security and defense cooperation, including training the Philippine Navy pilots and enhancing the capacity of its infrastructure.
9. President Duterte expressed his appreciation for Japan’s intention to provide high-speed boats and other \equipment to enhance the Philippines’ anti-terrorism capabilities.
10. The two leaders shared the view that they would further enhance bilateral dialogues and policy consultations at all levels.
11. Maintaining open and stable seas is essential in the region. The two leaders shared the view that the South China Sea holds sea lanes vital for global economic activity and viability. In this regard, the two leaders stressed the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight, as well as anti-piracy efforts and cooperation.
12. With regard to the South China Sea Arbitral Award, the two leaders acknowledged the importance of a rules-based approach to the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes without resorting to the threat or use of force, in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the UN Charter and other relevant international conventions. The two leaders emphasized the importance of self-restraint and non-militarization. In this regard, they also acknowledged the importance of the 2002 ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of the Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), the Joint Communiqué of the 49th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of 24 July 2016, the Chairman’s Statement of the 19th ASEAN-Japan Summit of 7 September 2016 and the Chairman’s Statement of the 11th East Asia Summit of 8 September 2016.
13. The two leaders look to their network of friendships and alliances, in particular the ever stronger ties between the Philippines and Japan, to help promote the peace, stability and maritime security of the region.
14. Prime Minister Abe reaffirmed Japan’s support for ASEAN centrality and the latter’s vision of ASEAN 2025: Forging Ahead Together. Looking forward to the Philippine Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2017, Prime Minister Abe extended assurances of Japan’s continued support for a rules-based, people-oriented and people-centered regional community driving ASEAN connectivity and inclusive growth. President Duterte acknowledged Japan’s contributions to ASEAN community building through the ASEAN-Japan Strategic Partnership for Prospering Together and the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership, among other arrangements.
15. President Duterte extended an invitation for Prime Minister Abe to visit the Philippines at a convenient time. Prime Minister Abe accepted the invitation with pleasure.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.