Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) greets Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a joint press statement in Tokyo on May 31 (Source: Reuters)

Hanoi (VNA) - Japan and the Philippines have agreed to work toward achieving a free, open and rules-based Indo-Pacific region by strengthening security cooperation.

According to Japanese news agency Kyodo News, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the press after his meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte in Tokyo on May 31 that as the two countries are both maritime nations sharing basic values and strategic interests, they will strengthen coordination in tackling important challenges, including the realization of a free and open Indo-Pacific based on the rule of law."

The Japanese PM also said Japan will continue to support the Philippines in building infrastructure. He praised Duterte's own "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure development programme, saying Japan will continue to extend its assistance.

Duterte expressed appreciation for Japan's development assistance, Kyodo News reported, quoting him as saying that "It's the gold standard for the Philippines' development cooperation with partner countries."

Japan and the Philippines entered into a strategic partnership in 2009.-VNA