MANILA- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrived in the Philippines on Thursday for a two-day visit aimed at shoring up ties with its mercurial new leader, and boosting Tokyo's economic foothold in the face of anticipated competition from China.
Abe's visit is the first by a head of state to the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte and comes amid a changing geopolitical landscape, much to do with a dramatic foreign-policy shift by the firebrand leader in Manila.
Duterte has been hostile towards traditional ally the United States while reaching out towards historic adversary China, putting Japan in an uneasy spot given its warm ties with Washington and rivalry with Beijing.
Upon arrival, Abe headed straight for a meeting with Duterte at the presidential palace in Manila. He will travel to Duterte's native of Davao on Friday, during which he and his wife will visit Duterte's family home.