SEPANG – Malaysia rolled out the red carpet to welcome Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte who flew in today to begin his maiden two-day visit to the country.
Duterte was greeted at the KL International Airport by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan after his special aircraft touched down at 6.06pm.
The Philippine President then inspected a guard-of-honour mounted by 32 officers and men from the First Battalion Royal Ranger Regiment.
A Foreign Ministry statement said Duterte is scheduled to have discussions with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on the progress of the ongoing bilateral cooperation between Malaysia and the Philippines.
The statement said the two leaders would also exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual concern.
The foreign ministry said the visit would provide the opportunity for both leaders to explore ways to strengthen the existing cooperation between the two countries.
Among the issues expected to be raised is the Philippines claim over Sabah, the free flow of migrants into Sabah from southern Philippines as well as cross border crime involving the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group.
Malaysia and the Philippines enjoy warm and cordial relations, and cooperate on various issues of common interest at the international level.
Malaysia’s total trade with the Philippines in the first eight months of this year rose by 5.4 per cent to RM13.15 billion as compared to RM12.48 billion in the January to August period last year.
Last year, the Philippines was ranked Malaysia’s fifth largest trading partner in ASEAN, and the 10th largest trading partner globally.
Duterte took office as the 16th President of the Philippines on June 30.