Marcos eyes meeting with Japan PM

Marcos eyes meeting with Japan PM

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. may hold a meeting with his Japanese counterpart on the sidelines of the commemorative summit between Japan and the Southeast Asian nations in Tokyo this week, it was revealed at Monday’s Palace briefing.

Mr. Marcos will fly to Japan on Dec. 15 to attend a commemorative summit for the 50th anniversary of cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Japan, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Daniel R. Espiritu told the briefing.

Mr. Espiritu said Mr. Marcos’ official engagement upon his arrival in Japan may be a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister (PM) Fumio Kishida.

Asked if the proposed reciprocal access agreement (RAA) will be discussed during the possible meeting, Mr. Espiritu said: “I cannot confirm if that will be part of the agenda. I think it will take a long time to make, so I don’t think that it will be done in one sitting.”

“Since the details of this are still being firmed up, I will not divulge yet the details,” he added.

On Dec. 17, participants are expected to hold formal discussions on ASEAN-Japan economic ties, particularly on trade and investment, supply chain, connectivity and infrastructure, climate change, and food and energy security, said Mr. Espiritu.

They are also set to discuss international developments affecting the regional bloc, such as issues involving the South China Sea, East China Sea, North Korea, and Myanmar, he added. They will also have a working lunch to discuss people-to-people activities related to arts, culture, and sports.

Mr. Marcos is also expected to participate in a Dec. 18 discussion on decarbonization, organized by the Asia Zero Emissions Community, a separate regional organization composed of ASEAN, Japan and Australia.

It’s a platform where countries discuss ways to lower their carbon emissions, Mr. Espiritu said.

He said Mr. Marcos will use the opportunity to lobby support for the Philippines’ bid to host the board of the United Nations’ loss and damage fund.

The foreign affairs official said there will also be business meetings and bilateral business meetings that will be headed by the Department of Trade and Industry.

One of them is “a roundtable meeting for a status report on the pledges and agreement signed during the February 2023 visit by the President and also the signing of the new business agreements,” he added. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza