MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Two weeks after the Philippine trip of US Secretary of State John Kerry, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is also set to visit Manila.
Kishida’s trip to the Philippines is scheduled from Wednesday to Friday, August 10 to 12, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Kishida is scheduled to meet with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his counterpart, Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr, on Thursday, August 11.
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said this will be Kishida’s first official trip after he was recently reappointed as Japan’s foreign minister. When Kishida was first appointed foreign minister in 2012, the Philippines was also the first country he visited, the DFA said.
The DFA added that Kishida “will be treated to a merienda cena” during his meeting with Duterte.
Also on Thursday, Kishida and Yasay will hold a joint press conference at Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City.
Confirming ‘friendly ties’
“It is important to communicate with the new Philippine government. I would like to firmly confirm friendly ties,” Kishida said, according to Kyodo News.
The Philippines and Japan have a strategic partnership, which means the two countries cooperate closely on maritime security, among other things.
Kishida’s visit comes around a month after the Philippines won a historic case against China over the South China Sea, parts of which the Philippines claims as the West Philippine Sea.
Japan also has a dispute with China over the East China Sea.
Before Kishida’s trip to Manila, Kerry visited the Philippines from July 26 to 27, and also met with Duterte and Yasay.
During his meeting with Kerry, Duterte assured the US top diplomat that the Philippines will negotiate with China based on the historic South China Sea ruling. – Rappler.com
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