Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to visit the Philippines this week, that includes a stopover to President Duterte’s house in Davao City.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said they expect the country’s relations with Japan would further be enhanced with the Prime Minister’s historic visit to the country.
Andanar revealed that it was the Japanese Prime who requested to visit the President’s home in Davao City, owing to their friendly relations.
“The Prime Minister said he wants to visit Davao City, visit President Duterte’s home in Davao City. We expect, not only the strengthening of ties but also a very very warm visit,” Andanar said in Filipino during an interview
“Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the first Prime Minister, head of state visiting this year and he is the first head of state to visit Davao City,” he added.
Andanar recalled that Duterte and Abe became instant friends during their first few encounters last year.
“When the President and the Prime Minister met in Japan, they hit it off really well. We stayed long in the banquets while the President and the Prime Minister talked and even posed for photographs,” he said.
The two leaders met for the first time at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Laos last September. At the time, Abe told Duterte that that he was excited to meet him, admitting that he is very popular in Japan.
Duterte traveled to Japan last October upon the invitation of Abe and forged five economic and defense accords, including Tokyo’s commitment to provide additional military aircraft and sea vessels to Manila.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, meantime, said the Prime Minister will first visit Manila on Thursday then travel to Davao on Friday.
He said Duterte and Abe are expected to hold bilateral talks on matters involving counterterrorism, trade and economic cooperation, and other regional issues.
“Apparently, they have struck a certain resonant chord between the two of them. Apparently, Prime Minister Abe wants to visit the President’s house. So, it’s interesting,” he said in a Palace press conference. (GENALYN KABILING)