It isn't often that a nation's president sits down face-to-face with the boss of a violent insurgency.
But Philippines president Benigno Aquino has done just that. At a hotel near Tokyo's main airport, the president met with the chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, an Islamic guerilla movement whose fight for a Muslim state has left 120,000 dead in the last three decades.
The president and the insurgency leader, Murad Ibrahim, had "fruitful" talks, according to other insurgent captains, reports the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Just last year, the guerilla movement announced it would settle for quasi-autonomy similar to a U.S. state instead of full-on independence.
But are Filipinos comfortable with their most powerful official legitimizing the Islamic rebellion?
According to the Inquirer, one diplomat has called it an "act of treason" and an editorial says such secret meetings and pacts are a "stab in the back."
In the last three decades, the insurgent movement has sheltered and helped train al-Qaeda members and carried out ambushes and beheadings in Philippines' Mindinao region. But the rebels have also, for the past 14 years, engaged in off-and-on peace talks with the government.