Duterte to discuss NKorea with Japan's Abe

A banner on a hut in the Philippines

The Japan Times: Trump and Abe expected to focus on North Korea rather than spar over FTA: experts

Mr Trump will travel to Asia on Nov 3 to 14 amid rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

Our starting point this morning, on U.S. President Donald Trump's scheduled visit to the Asia that begins this week- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - soon to greet President Trump in Tokyo when he visits the country- says the highly-anticipated visit will allow the two leaders to cement their positions on their strong deterrence against North Korea.

Since Trump pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal soon after his January inauguration, Japan has been leading negotiations for a so-called TPP 11 with the 11 remaining countries in the pending regional FTA, hoping Washington might rejoin the pact in the belief that it is the best framework for the two allies.

Duterte's visit comes as both leaders prepare to attend the APEC Summit in Vietnam as well as the 31st ASEAN Summit which will be hosted by the Philippines in Manila.

Trump will meet with Duterte but will skip the larger meeting in Manila with heads of states and governments from China, South Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand.

"If President Trump opens the issue of an FTA with Japan, it will distract the United States and Japan from more pressing agenda items such as the North Korean threat", said Andrew Oros, director of worldwide studies at Washington College. "I also agree that it's going to be mentioned, but I think it will just be one of many things".

Duterte is known for his often profanity-laden tirades against the United States, chiding Washington for treating the Philippines "like a dog", despite the two nations' longstanding relationship.

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Human rights, rule of law and due process are among "important developments" the two leaders would likely discuss during their bilateral talks, Sung Kim, U.S. ambassador to Manila, told foreign correspondents last week.

Duterte, unlike his predecessor, Benigno Aquino, has been less critical of Beijing's island building in the South China Sea.

"They agreed to deepen their discussions on the North Korean situation and other matters" during Trump's visit, he said.

"We are anxious. If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong", he said.

Duterte previously described Kim as a "fool" and "son of a bitch" for "playing with risky toys". "A nuclear war is totally unacceptable to everybody".

Before leaving the Philippines, Duterte said he will be seeking assistance from Japan in rebuilding Marawi City, which has been heavily damaged after 5 months of fighting with Maute terrorists.

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