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(UPDATED - 2:53 p.m.) JARO, Iloilo City - President Benigno Aquino III will bring up the country's territorial dispute with China in his bilateral meetings with United States President Barack Obama and United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron next week.
"We will discuss the West Philippine Sea (with both Obama and Cameron)," Aquino said on Friday.
"This is a body of water where a substantial amount of trade passes through so it is a concern for everyone," the President said.
Aquino will be in London for a three-day official visit before flying to Washington to meet with Obama.
Aquino is confident that his newly-appointed ambassador to China, Sonia Brady, will be able to hit the ground running and improve bilateral relations between Manila and Beijing.
"She's been there. She knows who to talk to. She knows what the concerns are," the President said.
Brady, who is returning to her old post, which she handled from 2008 to 2010, breezed through the confimation process of the Commission on Appointments earlier this week.
Aquino's meeting with Obama will be the fourth in two years.
Assistant Secretary Patricia Ann V. Paez of the Deparment of Foreign Affiars' Office of American Affairs said the visit "reflects the heightened engagement between Philippines and the US, as evidenced by the upward trajectory of high-level exchanges," which include the first Bilateral Strategic Dialogue held in Manila in January 2011; and the 2nd BSD held in Washington D.C. in January 2012.
In their meeting at the Oval Office, Aquino and Obama are expected to discuss a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including the close strategic, economic and people to people ties between our two countries, and our cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region with the US refocus in the region characterized by remarkable economic dynamism as well as new challenges, according to Paez.
"The President will also share his vision for the Philippines and his development agenda, specifically to promote inclusive growth, create equal opportunities for all, and foster good governance," said Paez.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will tender a luncheon in honor of the President and his delegation at the Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room of the State Department in Washington, D.C.
Aquino will also meet with leaders of the US Senate at areception organized by Senate President Pro Tempore Daniel K. Inouye at the US Capitol.
He will likewise meet with US business leaders and investors while in Washington, D.C. and be the guest of honor at the launch of the US-Philippines Society.