IBTimes UK

Philippines foreign ministry said on Friday that President Rodrigo Duterte might be visiting Japan and China at the end of October.

Several officials said the dates were still being discussed for the proposed trips. They did not reveal anything more as they were not authorised to speak to media.

China's Foreign Ministry did not confirm the trip but reiterated its invitation for Duterte to visit "at an early date" while Japan foreign ministry confirmed that plans were being made for Duterte's visit.

The Philippines' relations with Japan are warm but tensions with China have been rising recently over the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

In July, an arbitrational court in The Hague rejected China's cast claims in the disputed waters that infuriated Beijing and it refused to accept the verdict.

However, Duterte has repeatedly said the conflict was pointless and urged China to accept the ruling. Duterte wants to get along and do business with Beijing.

Both the Philippines and China are trying to find a way to break the ice after a verdict by the tribunal.

On Thursday, Duterte said he would go to China this year and, without elaborating, told Chinese businessmen: "You will see me often".

"China has already said several times that it welcomes President Duterte to visit China at an early date," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told Reuters.

"As long as both the Philippines and China continue to maintain the political will to reconcile our differences, there are no obstacles that cannot be overcome," Lu added.

On a contrary to this, the relationship with Japan is far less complicated with the Philippines. In recent months, Tokyo has agreed to provide 10 coastguard vessels to Manila to support its maritime security efforts.

IBTimes UK