Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (right) arrived in Manila on January 12. (Source: AP)

Hanoi (VNA) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in Manila on January 12 to begin his two-day visit to the Philippines.

PM Abe is the first foreign leader to visit the Philippines since President Rodrigo Duterte took power in mid-2016.

He wanted to maintain strong ties between Japan and Philippines and expressed his willingness to exchange viewpoints on bilateral and regional issues as well as straight discussions on ways of contributing to peace and stability in the region.

PM Abe’s visit happened in the context that President Duterte is pursuing a foreign policy of separating from the United States and turning to China and Russia. However, President Duterte affirmed to maintain close ties with Japan.

In his visit to Japan on October, 2016, Duterte affirmed Japan is the biggest sponsor of his country.

The Filipino Ministry of Foreign Affairs said during the visit, PM Abe will hold talks with President Duterte at the Presidential Palace and visit Davao town where Japan assisted the reconciliation process with the Islamic insurgents via development and poverty alleviation programmes.

After the Philippines, PM Abe will visit Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam.-VNA