PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad agreed on Monday to strengthen their defense and security cooperation at the bilateral and regional level.
“President Duterte expressed appreciation for Malaysia’s sustained support for the quest for just and lasting peace and development in Mindanao,” Malacanang said in a statement after the two leaders met privately at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
“Both leaders stressed the importance of working closely together bilaterally and at Asean to achieve shared aspirations of greater peace, progress and prosperity for the Philippines and Malaysia, and greater stability and security in the region,” the statement read.
The statement added that Duterte pointed out the need to strengthen and address terrorism and violent extremism in the Southeast Asian region.
This handout photo taken and released on July 16, 2018 by Malaysia’s Department of Information shows Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (right) shaking hands with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during their meeting in Putrajaya. AFP PHOTO / DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION / Zarith Zulkifli
These include transnational crimes, such as piracy, armed robbery at sea and the illegal drug trade.
The statement also said that Duterte and Mahathir renewed and reaffirmed the long-standing brotherhood and friendship between the Philippines and Malaysia.
Duterte said he wanted to visit Malaysia to congratulate Mahathir, who became the world’s oldest head of government at 92 years old last May when he came out of retirement to run and defeat reelectionist Najib Razak.
Mahathir previously ruled Malaysia for 22 years from 1981 to 2003.
The bilateral meeting on Monday happened a day after the two leaders watched the fight of Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Argentine Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur. Pacquiao beat Matthysse via technical knockout in the seventh round for the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title. RALPH VILLANUEVA
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