MANILA-- President Rodrigo Duterte wished resigned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a "speedy and full recovery" during a phone call on Monday, Malacañang said after the Japanese leader announced plans to step down due to health reasons.
Duterte had a "warm and productive" 25-minute phone call on Monday afternoon with Abe, where the Philippine leader thanked the Japanese prime minister for the East Asian nation's help in various areas such as infrastructure and defense.
"President Duterte personally conveyed his best wishes for Prime Minister Abe’s speedy and full recovery and extended appreciation for the Prime Minister’s valuable contribution in the strengthening of the Philippines-Japan Strategic Partnership," Malacañang said in a statement.
Abe on Aug. 28 announced his plans to resign, saying he is suffering a recurrence of the ulcerative colitis that forced him to cut short a first term in office, and that he no longer felt able to continue as prime minister.
Duterte, according to a Palace statement, also expressed his intention to pursue "robust" economic ties with Japan. Abe, according to Malacañang, meanwhile assured Duterte of Japan's commitment to strengthen its ties with the Philippines.
"Both leaders recognized the value of the Philippines-Japan Strategic Partnership and relations of 'friends closer than brothers'," Malacañang said.
Abe was the first world leader to visit Duterte in the Philippines in 2016 when the latter assumed office. The Japanese leader also accepted his invitation to visit his house in Davao City in 2017.