President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday expressed his gratitude to Japan for supporting rules-based order particularly in the South China Sea issue, saying the recent regional developments highlight the increasing importance of norms and institutions to manage relations among sovereign states.
“We thank Japan for its statement on the 5th Anniversary of the Arbitral Tribunal award affirming the rule of law,” President Duterte said during his virtual attendance to the 24th ASEAN-Japan Summit.
“Along with the rest of ASEAN, the Philippines upholds the vision of the South China Sea as a sea of peace, stability and prosperity. We are for the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law.”
To address the issue, the President said the Philippines will continue to work closely with China and the ASEAN toward the conclusion of an effective and substantive code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea under Myanmar’s coordinatorship.
Also in his statement, the Filipino president reiterates Philippines’ support to the resumption of peaceful dialogue towards peace and stability in a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.
He also recognized the importance of addressing issues of humanitarian concern, including the abduction issue and thanked Viet Nam for coordinating the ASEAN-Japan Dialogue Relations during the past three years.
Despite the current coronavirus pandemic, the President said the dynamic engagement between the ASEAN and Japan continues to progress.
“We deeply appreciate Japan’s continued support for the Philippines’ and ASEAN’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts,” he said.
As the Asian region gears up for sustainable recovery, he hopes cooperation with Japan could continue to fortify regional and global supply chains, build quality infrastructure, boost tourism, and strengthen micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The Philippine leader also highlighted the need to enhance cooperation in environmental protection, climate action and biodiversity conservation.
Recognizing the importance of human capital development to post-pandemic recovery, he asked for Japan’s support in technical and vocational education and training, with the Philippines being the inaugural chair of the ASEAN TVET Council for 2020-2022. PND