Japan to Invest Billions in Philippines, Pulling Duterte Out of China's Orbit

  • Japan to Invest Billions in Philippines, Pulling Duterte Out of China's Orbit

Japan to Invest Billions in Philippines, Pulling Duterte Out of China's Orbit

Duterte met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Monday where Abe said Japan was committed to deliver its trillion-yen pledge (roughly P456 billion) to the Philippines.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe points to a reporter during a press conference at the Liberal Democratic Party headquarters in Tokyo, on October 23, 2017.

In the second round of the high-level economic dialogue between the two countries in Washington earlier in the month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence expressed the Trump administration's interest in commencing talks for a Japan-U.S. free trade agreement and stressed the need to reduce the U.S. goods trade deficit.

"Over excellent food and even better company, we have this opportunity tonight to look back not only on a most productive day but also to consider the many things we have accomplished together to advance the Philippines and Japan Strategic Partnership since 2016", he said.

"It's a commitment founded on the democratic values we hold dear".

"There will be some of the most ambitious and groundbreaking projects, including the Metro Manila Subway project, and major developments in the regions and provinces", he said.

In his speech during the official dinner hosted by Abe, Duterte ditched his speech for one particular reason. China claims South China Sea territory within the sovereign Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Brunei, and waters off the coast of Indonesia.

This comes after Abe's statement Monday where he said his country was fully supportive of Duterte's approach in fighting terrorism as well as ensuring stability in Mindanao. He told the Emperor, that the Philippines is grateful for Japan's "continuing friendship and support for the Philippines' peace and development goals".

"I will skip two pages of my prepared speech and go to the last page because I am hungry", Duterte said, sending his audience in a laughing frenzy.

Abe thanked Duterte for making a trip to Japan despite his busy schedule as this year's Chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

In his speech, Duterte said Japan would once again be the country's partner in rebuilding Marawi "as the center of moderation and tolerance".