By Japan Today
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Philippine President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr agreed Friday to work together to strengthen bilateral ties toward peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.
The two also confirmed that they will meet in person as soon as possible, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said in a press release issued after their 15-minute phone talks.
Kishida said he wants to closely cooperate with Marcos toward the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, according to the ministry. The initiative has been promoted by Japan and the United States and is widely seen as a counter to China's growing military and economic clout in the region.
Marcos said that relationship with Tokyo is extremely important for Manila, expressing his hope to ramp up cooperation with Kishida in various fields, according to the ministry.
Marcos is likely to continue incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte's infrastructure program, foreign borrowing and friendly approach to China as a means to help the Philippine economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic, despite a territorial dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea.
Kishida also pledged to continue its ongoing economic and security support for the Philippines such as building infrastructure.
This marked the first time that Marcos had talked with Kishida after the son and namesake of the late Philippine dictator won a landslide victory in the May 9 presidential election. Marcos is set to take office on June 30.