Duterte assures Japan his visit to China concerned economics only

Duterte assures Japan his visit to China concerned economics onlyPhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte during his visit to Japan on Wednesday wanted to assure the Japanese that he has no intention of forging a military alliance with China.

"I went to China for a visit and I would like to assure you that all there was economics. We did not talk about arms, we did not talk about stationing of troops, we avoided talking about alliances, military or otherwise," he told an audience of Japanese businessmen in Tokyo.

Duterte's official visit to Japan came his state visit to China. Japan and China are locked in a territorial dispute over the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands in the East China Sea.

The Philippine President assured Japan that investments and trade were the central focus of his China trip, not maritime disputes or military agreements.

"What happened really, there were just a few platforms where investments could come into. You know, historically, we only have this short window in our dealings with China. With my visit, we hope that the window will come in a better light and bigger than usual so we can trade freely," he said.

The Philippine President then reminded Japan that, under his administration, the Philippines will pursue an "independent foreign policy," one that doesn't start fights with "friends."

"I would like to make it clear to everybody that we do not pick quarrels with our friends and neighbors, but to me, it is hightime that the President stands up to its dignity as a people," he said.

Though Duterte said there won't be a Philippines-China military deal, he and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a defense cooperation agreement involving Philippine and Chinese coast guards.

Meanwhile, Japan has donated 10 coast guard vessels to the Philippines.
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