Duterte set to visit Moscow, meet with Putin

World Today

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will be in Russia this week for a four-day official visit. There he will meet with his self-declared idol, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

What kind of relationship do the two countries have?

CGTN’s Barnaby Lo reports.

Duterte set to visit Moscow to meet Putin

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will be in Russia this week for a four-day official visit. There he will meet with his self-declared idol, Russian President Vladimir Putin. What kind of relationship do the two countries have? CGTN's Barnaby Lo gives us the answer.

In October last year, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was asked whether he preferred Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the White House. “I’m better off in saying that my favorite hero is Putin,” was his response.

Duterte has made no secret his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his desire to meet the Russian leader. It didn’t take long for that to happen. They held their first bilateral meeting last November at the APEC Summit in Peru. After which, Duterte said Putin said to him, “Don’t forget to visit Russia.”

So now, the time has come. Duterte is visiting Russia this week, where he and Putin will be witnessing the signing of several bilateral agreements, including in the areas of defense and security.

“We are ready to supply small arms and light weapons, from airplanes, helicopters, submarines. Our interest is to combine our efforts with all interested parties around the world in order to effectively deal, effectively cope with common threats through security and sustainable development,” said Igor Khovaev, Russian Ambassador to the Philippines.

Perhaps as an initial gesture of friendship, the Russian Navy has docked twice in Manila this year. On both occasions, President Duterte personally welcomed the warships.

Russian military vessels have been to the Philippines before, but never with this kind of fanfare. Also ahead of Duterte’s trip, Russia released 17 Filipinos who were briefly detained but were found to have been illegally recruited.

The friendship between Russia and the Philippines may have started with a personal rapport, if you will, between Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin, but Duterte’s visit to Moscow could now determine how ties between both countries will develop further.