VIENTIANE, Laos - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday expressed delight over meeting President Rodrigo Duterte at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.
During a bilateral meeting on the summit's sidelines, Abe also informed Duterte that is he is well-known even in Japan.
"President Duterte, I would like to congratulate you on assuming the Office of President of the Republic of the Philippines. Mr. President is quite a famous figure also in Japan, and I am very excited to see you in person," he said, eliciting laughter from those present.
But on a serious note, Abe also condoled with the Filipino leader over the Friday night bombing that killed 14 people in Davao City.
"I would like to underscore that Japan firmly deplores the terror incident which took place in Davao the other day. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt condolences for the victims and their family members and also, I'd also like to reiterate my feelings of sympathy for you," the Prime Minister said.
The Philippines and Japan, former World War II foes, are celebrating 60 years of diplomatic ties this year.