Philippines, Russia vow to expand trade, strengthen military cooperation

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-14 12:57:19|Editor: Liangyu
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MANILA, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his willingness to expand trade ties with Russia during his talks with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, a government statement said here on Tuesday.

"We have started an improvement of our friendship and the plan increases of our trade, expand it and I know that your country is seriously considering all of these things and we are happy that we can find a new market in the Euro-Eurasian front," Duterte told Medvedev during their talks late Monday night.

In a bid to boost trade relations, Duterte said Manila plans to set up a place in Moscow where Filipinos can showcase their products for the Russians to see them.

Duterte also thanked Russia for its military assistance on a "crucial moment" during the rebellion in Marawi, where militants with links to Islamic State (IS) attacked the southern Philippine city on May 23 that led to a five-month conflict that claimed the lives of more than 1,200 people and displaced thousands.

Russia donated 5,000 units of assault rifles, a million rounds of cartridges with steel core bullets and 20 military transport trucks to the Armed Forces of the Philippines to help fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

"We were able to use the rifles and the arms that you gave us on time," Duterte said.

Medvedev welcomed the Philippines' plan to have more trade with Russia, reiterating his country's desire to strengthen ties with the Philippines in all areas such as politics, culture, trade and economic cooperation.

"We are ready to expand our ties in all the areas and dimensions. And definitely I believe that we have opened this new chapter in our relationship," Medvedev told Duterte.

Medvedev said Russia wants to help the Philippines in its fight against terrorism and violent extremism. He said Russia wants to supply more weapons to the Philippines.

"We will keep standing by your side. We'll keep assisting you," Medvedev said, adding Russia is ready to deepen its "cooperation and interaction on sensitive things and spheres such as the fight against terrorism and mutual technical cooperation and arms supplies."

Duterte, who assumed power in 2016, announced his administration's wish to cultivate relations with Russia.