Duterte describes Philippines ties with Japan as “unshakeable”
TOKYO -- President Rodrigo Duterte described the Philippine relationship with Japan as "unshakeable."
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who hosted the dinner Wednesday night, affirmed the "deep, family-like or brotherly relationship" and "indispensable friendship" of the two countries as he extended an invitation for Duterte to visit Japan again to enjoy "washoku."
"Mr. President, I recount that you have a passion for washoku Japanese cuisine and that is exactly why I took the initiative to prepare the washoku for you tonight. If you like it, please do come back to Japan as you wish to enjoy another batch of washoku," Abe said.
The two leaders were late by 30 minutes for the dinner, which according to Abe "was actually a testament to the very simple fact that we have actually very active discussion between myself and President Duterte."
The prime minister apologized to the other guests for the delay.
He said his discussion with Duterte was "productive," but he could not share the content of their talks.
Duterte said the relationship of the Philippines and Japan was borne out of mutual respect and trust.
"It is a relationship strengthened by a common commitment to uphold democracy adherence to the rule of law and a peaceful settlement of disputes. As countries and peoples that have shared a meaningful history, we now look forward to a future together as we chart a common path towards our aspiration for greater peace, progress and prosperity and beyond," he said.
"This is a relationship that stands on unshakeable, firm ground by all counts...our ties are just excellent."
The 71-year old Duterte said the Philippines is thankful for Japan’s "demonstrative concern and the respect it continues to uphold my people and country."
Duterte said he gives Japan its right place in the constellation of the Philippine friends.
He also suggested to Abe that they sign an agreement "extending the 60 years of friendship of our diplomatic relations anniversary and may I suggest 1,000 years." Celerina Monte/DMS