Duterte, Abe hold bilateral meeting at ASEAN summit sidelines
President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a bilateral meeting at the sidelines of the 35th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Thailand.
Duterte expressed "regret" that he had to cut short his trip to Tokyo during the October 22 enthronement ceremony of Japanese Emperor Naruhito.
"I was not able to attend your Gala Dinner because I had to attend to some pressing matters back home," he told Abe.
Duterte had immediately returned to Manila after the Emperor's ascension to the throne due to "unbearable pain" on his pelvic region following his fall from a motorcycle.
Abe said he was "truly grateful" for Duterte's participation in the enthronement ceremony.
He also said he understands why Duterte had to shorten his visit to Japan because of the "pressing issues" back home.
Duterte also thanked Japan for allowing the Philippines to open a consulate general in Nagoya.
He also expressed gratitude to Abe for Japan's provision of defense equipment to the Philippines
Duterte also extended his sympathies to Japan following the devastation brought by Typhoon Hagibis last month.
In an earlier press conference in Nonthaburi, Thailand prior to the bilateral talks between Duterte and Abe, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the two leaders would likely confirm the cooperation between Manila and Tokyo, particularly on the projects, was on the right track.
He noted the regular meeting between the Filipino economic team and its counterpart within the Office of the Prime Minister of Japan regarding the implementation of infrastructure projects.
Meanwhile, Duterte skipped the 3rd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Summit.
He was instead represented by Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
Duterte is set to return to the Philippines on Monday night. Celerina Monte/DMS