Aquino to visit Japan amid disputes with China
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Benigno Aquino III will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in June to bolster ties and discuss "recent regional developments," as the Philippines and Japan face territorial and maritime disputes with China.
In a statement Friday, April 24, the Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Aquino's state visit to Japan will take place from June 2 to 5.
The DFA said: "As a state guest, the President will be received by His Majesty Emperor Akihito and Her Majesty Empress Michiko at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo for a welcome ceremony and a state call. Their Majesties will also host a state banquet in honor of the President."
"The President will also hold a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, during which the two leaders will discuss the enhancement of the Philippine-Japan Strategic Partnership and exchange views on recent regional developments. Prime Minister Abe is scheduled to host a dinner for the President after their meeting," the DFA added.
The Japanese government invited Aquino to visit Tokyo.
The Philippine governement said state visits "reflect the highest level of hospitality, honor, and formality in relations between nations."
Philippines' strategic partner
Aquino meets with Abe in the face of their countries' disputes with China.
On the one hand, the Philippines is challenging China's expansive claims over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). Japan, on the other hand, is competing with China over the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands in the East China Sea.
China detests the idea of countries banding together to settle territorial and maritime disputes. Instead it pushes for one-on-one talks with the countries involved.
The partnership between the Philippines and Japan, as expected, has incensed China. (READ: China hits Philippines for seeking Japan's help)
Experts say strategic partnerships remain vaguely defined, but agree these involve shared objectives to promote regional security. – Rappler.com