PH, Japan eye foreign, defense ministers meeting

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 18) — President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio expressed their desire for "deeper security engagement and coordination" by considering a Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting or 2+2.

In a phone call, the two leaders discussed a host of issues touching on coordination in maritime security efforts, support for the country's infrastructure programs, and the situation in Myanmar, according to the Office of the President.

Duterte said he looks forward to the projects aimed at strengthening the two countries' cooperation in maritime security, such as maritime domain awareness, connectivity and preservation of the marine environment.

He also acknowledged Japan's support for the government's Build, Build, Build program, the peace process in Mindanao and the ongoing transition of the Bangsamoro Region.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan also released a statement on the 25-minute conversation, saying Kishida committed to continue supporting the Philippines' infrastructure development, COVID-19 pandemic response, and maritime law enforcement. 

The ministry added that Kishida voiced opposition against changing the status quo in the East and South China Seas. The two leaders also discussed cooperation to achieve a "Free and Open Indo-Pacific" - which aims to open the region as "international public goods" - and the "ASEAN Outlook for the Indo-Pacific," which seeks to promote an environment of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region. 

They also tackled working closely in dealing with North Korea, particularly its "abductions issue" and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Duterte congratulated Japan after its draft resolution on the elimination of nuclear weapons submitted to the United Nations General Assembly was adopted, the ministry said.