MANILA – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may join President Rodrigo Duterte in a breakfast at the latter’s home in Davao City, Manila’s top diplomat said Wednesday.
Abe will arrive in the Philippines on Thursday, January 12, for a two-day official visit aimed at bolstering ties between the two Asian nations.
Abe will be the first head of government to officially visit the Philippines this year, and the highest ranking official to ever visit Davao City, which is home to a large Japanese community. The Japanese leader will be accompanied by his wife, Akie.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said Abe will fly to Davao City on Thursday evening “to continue bilateral engagements.”
The breakfast may happen on Abe’s second day of visit.
Yasay said Abe will visit Duterte’s house upon the invitation of the Filipino leader, who made a state visit to Japan in October.
He added, memoranda of agreement on transportation, agriculture cooperation, and security cooperation, among others, will be signed by the two leaders during Abe’s official visit.
Abe's visit comes as Duterte pivots Philippine foreign policy away from its traditional ally, the US. Since he assumed office in mid-2016, he has normalized bilateral ties with China and is expanding relations with Russia.
Duterte has regarded Japan as an important partner, even as he continues to lambast Washington, Tokyo's most important ally, over its criticisms on his war on drugs. – report from Jasmin Romero, ABS-CBN News