MANILA, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- Russia has posted its first defense attache to the Philippines in over 40 years, signalling "enhanced military cooperation" between the two countries, the Russian Embassy in Manila said on Wednesday.
Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev formally introduced Colonel Dmitry Nikitin to Philippine military officials on Tuesday.
Philippine Defense Undersecretary Raymundo DV Elefante welcomed Nikitin, saying that he is optimistic about stronger military ties between the Philippines and Russia.
"It will be a very long journey but I think with this relationship and cooperation, I think we will go to have a very good opportunity in terms of cooperation and friendship," Elefante said during the reception of the opening of the Russian military attache office.
Khovaev, for his part, said Russian-Philippines defense cooperation will contribute to the stability of the region.
"Because for the first time, the Philippines and Russia decided to open a new channel of communication between our nations. This decision is in full compliance with the strategic interests of not only the Philippines and Russia but of all regional countries," he said in a speech.
Khovaev added that enhanced defense ties are more relevant as terrorism remains a common threat faced by both Russia and the Philippines.
In May last year, the Philippines posted Colonel Dennis Pastor as the Philippines' first defense attache in Moscow.
In May 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order to send his country's first designated defense attache to the Philippines, as the 40-year bilateral relations of the two countries have improved since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016.