News Release

President Duterte tackles South China Sea, security issues with Japanese PM Suga

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga discuss matters during a phone call at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on May 19, 2021. ROBINSON NIÑAL/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte discussed the South China Sea and regional security issues during a phone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Malacañang said in a statement Wednesday.

During the phone conversation, President Duterte emphasized the need for cooperation on promoting domain awareness, maritime security and safety, freedom of navigation and overflight and maritime connectivity and commerce.

At the same time, the Filipino leader underscored the need to recognize and work for the peaceful settlement of disputes, stating that the eruption of conflict in the Asia-Pacific region would be harmful to regional interest.

Alliances and partnerships, he said, must redound to greater stability in the South China Sea and uphold the broader collective interest of the Asia-Pacific region.

The President also expressed his gratitude to Japan for its generous assistance to fight COVID-19, including the 20 billion yen initially approved out of the 50 billion yen Post-Disaster Standby Loan.

This is on top of 1 billion yen provided by Japan for cold chain development in the Philippines.

Prime Minister Suga, for his part, recognized and expressed his support for the Philippine government’s efforts to address the pandemic.

Both leaders reaffirmed their commitments to further strengthen bilateral ties as the Philippines and Japan celebrate this year 65 years of normalized relations and 10 years of Strengthened Strategic Partnership.

Prime Minister Suga was supposed to visit the Philippines but postponed his trip to address Japan’s COVID-19 situation. President Duterte expressed the country’s solidarity with the Japanese people in combating the pandemic. PND