Kyodo | 01/10/2013 11:17 AM
MANILA - Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario began talks in Manila on Thursday, which Philippine officials said are likely to take up the two countries' territorial disputes with China among other issues.
The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday that Kishida's visit, the first by a Japanese foreign minister to the Philippines since 2006, "is an opportunity for both countries to advance the Philippines-Japan Strategic Partnership under the new Japanese administration."
"Japan is one of only two strategic partners of the Philippines and is one of the most important economic partners in terms of trade, investments and development assistance," the statement added.
Kishida is also scheduled to meet Thursday with Philippine President Benigno Aquino before departing for Singapore, the second leg of his four-country tour, which will also include visits to Brunei and Australia.
The Philippines is the first country Kishida has visited since he was appointed foreign minister last month in the Cabinet of new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.