Duterte leaves for Russia to explore Philippines-Russia cooperation

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-22 18:01:05|Editor: ying
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MANILA, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte left for Russia on Monday to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin to chart the future of Philippine-Russian relations.

In a speech before boarding his plane at the Davao City international airport, Duterte said he would meet Putin and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow "to discuss ways of charting the future direction of our partnership across many areas."

"We will exchange views on regional and international issues to determine how we can best advance our shared interests," he said.

Duterte said cooperation between Manila and Moscow opened 40 years ago but "it has opened ever so slightly."

"There is much room to develop mutually beneficial cooperation. There are many opportunities that needed to be explored. Now we can work together to open those even wider," Duterte said.

"This is a strategic oversight that has led to many missed opportunities for our country. I am determined to correct this," Duterte said.

He said his administration will give Philippines-Russia relations the importance commensurate to its full potential.

"We will push for pragmatic engagement in the politico-security sphere, increased economic cooperation, and enhanced cultural and people-to-people exchanges," he said.

Duterte expressed hope that this official visit to Russia from May 22 to 26 "will lay the firm foundation for a robust, comprehensive, and mutually-beneficial Philippines-Russia partnership."

Aside from defense cooperation which will deal specifically on "military and technical cooperation," Philippine foreign officials said other deals to be signed include a memorandum of understanding on cooperation between Russian and Philippine security councils, a treaty on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, and an extradition treaty.

"The agreement on military and technical cooperation will pave the way for the Philippines to explore a possibility of military procurement from Russia," officials said.