11:48 GMT05 March 2021
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    Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte formally cancelled his visit to Japan amid the ongoing clashes in Marawi City on the southern island of Mindanao, local media reported on Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – According to presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, Duterte will not be able to attend the 23rd Nikkei International Conference on the Future of Asia in June, as the situation in Mindanao required the president’s "undivided time and attention," the ABS-CBN media outlet reported.

    The spokesperson said that the visit "could be rescheduled in the future."

    "The lines of communication between the DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs] and its Japanese counterpart remain open and active in this regard," Abella added, as quoted by the media.

    The tensions between Filipino government forces and the Maute group, which is affiliated with the Islamic State terror organization (IS, banned in Russia), in the region escalated in May, when the latter attempted to storm the city of Marawi. The escalation prompted the nation's authorities to impose martial law on the island and has already lead to the deaths of 100 people.

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