Duterte to discuss South China Sea with Abe during Japan trip

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 24 2019 11:26 AM

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pose for a photo prior to their bilateral meeting in Singapore on Nov. 15, 2018. The two leaders will meet again in Tokyo in May 2019. Karl Norman Alonzo, Malacanang Photo

MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will discuss the South China Sea on the sidelines of a business forum in Tokyo next week, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Friday.

The South China Sea is "central" to peace and stability in the region, which is a mutual concern for Duterte and Abe, said Foreign Affairs Asec. Meynardo Montealegre.

Manila is locked in a dispute with Beijing in the South China Sea. Japan is in a separate row with China over the Senkaku Islands (called Diaoyu by Beijing) in the East China Sea.

"The Philippines for its part has always affirmed its commitment to uphold the principles of freedom of navigation and overflight, freedom of commerce and other local activities, exercise of self-restraint and the peaceful resolution of disputes," Montealegre told reporters in Malacanang.

The bilateral meeting between Duterte and Abe in Tokyo will be their 7th. Japanese news agency Nikkei is hosting the forum, where the Filipino leader will deliver the keynote address.

It will be Duterte's third visit to Japan since assuming office in 2016.