TOKYO (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will visit Japan for talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this month, ahead of key regional meetings beginning with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gathering in Vietnam in November.
“Japan and the Philippines have close ties and our strategic partnership can promote stability in the region,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday during a regular press briefing.
Duterte will arrive on Oct 29 for a three day visit, Suga said.
Japan is concerned about China’s growing power in the South China Sea and sees cooperation with the Philippines, which lies on the waterway’s eastern side, as key to helping prevent the spread of Beijing’s influence into the western Pacific.
Duterte, unlike his predecessor, Benigno Aquino, has courted China and has been less critical of its island building in the region.
Following the two-day APEC meeting from Nov 11, which U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend, Asia Pacific leaders will travel to the Philippines for the East Asia Summit, including representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other Asia Pacific nations.
Duterte’s visit will mark his second trip to Japan and his third meeting with Abe.
Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Paul Tait and Sonali Paul