• Kyodo

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Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday he will visit the Philippines from Wednesday to discuss security issues with his counterpart Perfecto Yasay.

Kishida said he also plans to meet Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte during the three-day visit. It will be Duterte’s first meeting with a Japanese Cabinet member since becoming president in June.

Kishida’s visit comes as the two maritime nations share concerns about China’s increasing muscle-flexing in disputed waters of the South China Sea.

“It is important to communicate with the new Philippines government. I would like to firmly confirm friendly ties,” Kishida said.

In the talks, Kishida is expected to confirm cooperation with Yasay in urging China to accept a recent international tribunal ruling that rejected the legal basis for Beijing’s claims to almost all of the South China Sea. The ruling was given in response to a case brought by the Philippines.

Japan is not a claimant in the South China Sea disputes between China and five other governments, including the Philippines, in the region, but is in dispute with China over the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

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