Kerry to visit PH, meet with Duterte

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – US Secretary of State John Kerry is set to visit the Philippines from July 26 to 27 to meet with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Kerry will become the first top diplomat of another country to visit Duterte in the Philippines.

Mark Toner, deputy spokesman of the US State Department, said on Tuesday, July 19, that Kerry is also scheduled to speak with his counterpart, Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. 

Kerry aims "to discuss the full range" of US cooperation "with the new administration," Toner said in a statement.

Kerry's visit comes days after the Philippines won a historic case against China over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). 

Before this, Counselor Kristie Kenney of the US State Department, a former US ambassador to the Philippines, flew to Manila to meet with key Duterte officials. Kenney said she did this upon Kerry's instructions.

Before coming to the Philippines, Kerry is traveling to Vientiane, Laos, from July 25 to 26 to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the ASEAN-US Ministerial Meeting, and the Lower Mekong Initiative Ministerial Meeting. 

Toner said: "At these ASEAN meetings, the Secretary will discuss the region’s security architecture and shared transnational challenges including maritime security; illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing’ the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula’ and the South China Sea." – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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