Russian President Vladimir Putin and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attend a meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Lima, Peru, November 19, 2016. (Photo courtesy: Reuters)
Russia is aggressive in offering the Philippines assistance to fight international terrorism and piracy.
However, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana clarified that there is no military alliance yet between the country and Russia.
“Very aggressive sila na makipag-ano tayo sa kanila relationship na military. Hindi naman alliance pero exchange lang ng mga estudyante, mga personnel, participation sa exercises, kumbaga observer lang sa exercises muna,” Sec. Lorenzana explained further.
(They are very aggressive in intensifying our relationship with them in terms of military. But it’s not alliance. It’s more of providing exchange students, personnel, participation in exercises, or providing observer in exercises.)
President Rodrigo Duterte plans to visit Russia in April or May.
Meanwhile, US State spokesperson John Kirby said there won’t be any effect on how the United States views the importance of its bilateral relationship with the Philippines.
The statement was made after reports of planned maritime exercises and intensified defense ties between Russia and the Philippines.
“And so again, I would leave it to both of their governments to discuss it. What I can promise you is that it won’t affect how we view the importance of our bilateral relationship with the Philippines,” Kirby said.
Two Russian navy ships are currently docked in the country for a goodwill visit and they will remain in the Philippines until Saturday.
Kirby also gave assurance that the defense relationship of the US and Philippines remains strong.
“The first thing I would say is that the defense relationship between the United States and the Philippines remains very, very strong. We do have security commitments, alliance commitments that we take very, very seriously.”
Pres. Duterte has already invoked independent foreign policy creating a bit of a tension with America in connection with his controversial war on drugs.
The president also explained his plans to intensify the relationship of the country to other world power such as Russia and China not for military alliance but for economic alliances. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue
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