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un­der Duterte’s pre­de­ces­sor, Benigno Aquino III, who uni­lat­er­ally launched the ar­bi­tra­tion case against China over the South China Sea dis­pute.

Dur­ing the visit, Ja­pan is ex­pected to of­fer Manila two large coast guard pa­trol boats — on­top ofan­ear­lier pledge of 10 smaller ones — and TC-90 mil­i­tary train­ing air­craft, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ported.

Jia Duqiang, a se­nior re­searcher of South­east Asian Stud­ies at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences, said that Duterte is main­tain­ing a “bal­anced diplo­macy” to cater to both China and Ja­pan, given the re­marks he has made in the two past week.

“Through of­fer­ing olive branches to both China and Ja­pan, Duterte is pur­su­ing the Philip­pines’ max­i­mum na­tional in­ter­ests, since both China and Ja­pan could of­fer fi­nan­cial sup­port to his coun­try,” he said. CANADAJin Yong, coun­tries deputy in the head of the School of For­eign Stud­ies at Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Univer­sity of China, said Duterte should stick to in­de­pen­dent diplo­macy in­stead of be­ing in­flu­enced by Ja­pan.

Ac­cord­ing to the Chi­naPhilip­pines joint dec­la­ra­tion is­sued on Fri­day, the two coun­tries agreed to main­tain re­straint and en­hance bi­lat­eral ne­go­ti­a­tions over the South China Sea dis­pute.

“I think that Duterte’s re­marks in Ja­pan should mostly be in ac­cor­dance with what he said in China, that is, to en­hance co­op­er­a­tion and set aside dis­putes,” For­eign Min­istry spokesman Lu Kang told a reg­u­lar news con­fer­ence onWed­nes­day.

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