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Tokyo, MNL to boost exchange on defense, infra, Bangsamoro dev’t

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The Philippine and Japanese governments have vowed to increase their cooperation on defense and security, as well as the development of infrastructure in the country, and the Bangsamoro region.

This commitment was made during the second bilateral meeting between Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and his Japanese counterpart, Foreign Minister Taro Kono, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo on Wednesday.

According to a Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) statement issued Friday, the two top diplomats continued their discussions on further elevating the cooperation between the two states under a “strengthened strategic partnership.”

“The two foreign ministers vowed to further advance cooperation, particularly in defense and security, economic cooperation, infrastructure development, and the development of the Bangsamoro region,” it said.

“They also exchanged views on regional issues of mutual concern, including the Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea,” it added.

STRENGTHENED PARTNERSHIP. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (left) meets with his Japanese counterpart, Foreign Minister Taro Kono at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo on Wednesday (May 29, 2019). During their meeting, they agreed to increase their countries’ cooperation on defense and security, infrastructure development, and the development of the Bangsamoro region. (Photos courtesy of DFA/Rosellie Lacuadra-Bantay and Anthony Cornista)

During the meeting, Locsin highlighted the country’s “profound and abiding friendship” with Japan, attested to by Tokyo’s support through the years.

For his part, Kono noted the “deep relationship” between the two countries, describing it in President Rodrigo Duterte’s words that Japan is the Philippines’ “friend closer than a brother.”

Locsin and Kono’s meeting came three months after they met in Davao City last February 10.

Locsin was in Tokyo to accompany the Chief Executive who participated in the 25th Nikkei Conference on the Future of Asia and met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The DFA said this was Locsin’s first official trip to Japan since assuming office. (Joyce Ann L. Rocamora, PNA)

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