Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will visit Japan for talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the end of this month, ahead of key regional meetings beginning with the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vietnam in November.
“Japan and the Philippines have close ties, and our strategic partnership can promote stability in the region,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday during a regular briefing.
Duterte will arrive on Sunday 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 building on islands in the region.
Following the Nov. 11-12 APEC meeting, which U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping also will attend, Asia-Pacific leaders will travel to the Philippines for the East Asia Summit, including representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other nations.
Duterte’s visit will be his second trip to Japan and his third meeting with Abe.