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MANILA, Philippines – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will be visiting the Philippines from November 3 to 4, Malacañang said in a release on Tuesday, October 31.
Quoting the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Presidential Communications Office said President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will officially welcome Kishida in ceremonies at the Palace on November 3.
The two leaders, who have met several times in the past, will be holding a bilateral meeting to “discuss areas of mutual concern such as political, security, economic and development cooperation, as well as people-to-people ties.”
Marcos and Kishida are also expected to “exchange views on regional and international issues,” as well as discuss Philippine-Japan ties. Relations between two countries developed into a “strategic partnership” in 2011.
This will be be Kishida’s first visit to the Philippines under Marcos’ presidency. Marcos made an official visit to Japan in February 2023, during which he also met with Kishida.
The two also recently met on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Jakarta, alongside United States Vice President Kamala Harris. This trilateral relationship – between the US, the Philippines, and Japan – is seen as an emerging key partnership in the region.
Marcos has said that he welcomes Manila and Tokyo’s developing relationship, particularly on regional security. “I’m sure that Japan wants to develop more and make even more robust and closer our relationship, especially in that regard,” said Marcos back in February 2023, when asked about cooperation with Japan, including matters on the South China Sea.
Kishida’s visit comes as ties between the Philippines and China grow more tense over encounters in the West Philippine Sea. On October 22, China and Philippine vessels collided during a routine resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.
Japan, in a statement released by its Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) following the incident, said it “opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force as well as any actions that increase tensions in the South China Sea.” – Rappler.com