Abe starts 4-nation trip with visit to Philippines

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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.