Europe

Abe starts 4-nation trip with visit to Philippines

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe receives a garland as he arrives at Manila's airport, Philippines, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Abe is in the country for a two-day official visit. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe receives a garland as he arrives at Manila's airport, Philippines, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Abe is in the country for a two-day official visit. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)  (The Associated Press)

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reaches out his hand beside his wife Aika as they arrive at Manila's airport, Philippines, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Abe is in the country for a two-day official visit. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reaches out his hand beside his wife Aika as they arrive at Manila's airport, Philippines, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Abe is in the country for a two-day official visit. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)  (The Associated Press)

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, followed by his wife Akie, walks during arrival honors at Manila's airport, Philippines, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Abe is in the country for a two-day official visit. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, followed by his wife Akie, walks during arrival honors at Manila's airport, Philippines, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Abe is in the country for a two-day official visit. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)  (The Associated Press)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has arrived for a two-day visit to Manila as the Philippines has boosted ties with China while taking a hostile stance toward Tokyo's main ally the United States.

Abe's visit to the Philippines starting Thursday is the first stop in a four-nation swing as the Japanese leader presses efforts to boost his country's trade and security engagements amid China's rise to Asian dominance.

Accompanied by his wife and a business delegation, Abe is the first head of state to visit since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June. It comes as Duterte faces domestic and international criticism for a brutal anti-drugs crackdown that has claimed more than 6,000 lives.