Davao City—After declaring in Beijing that he would align the Philippines with China and Russia “against the world,” President Rodrigo Duterte pressed his courtship of Moscow and said he cares little for the results of the US presidential elections and would rather bet on his favorite hero Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I cannot gamble an answer,” Duterte said here Saturday upon returning from a historic four-day state visit to China.
“Either way, it would affect [the country’s foreign relations]. It might create hostility here, antagonism there so I am better off in saying that my favorite hero is Putin,” he told reporters at the Francisco Bangong International Airport.
Hours before he returned, Russian Ambassador Igor Khovaev said Moscow is ready to discuss “any area, any field of possible cooperation” in a bid to boost, adding that the two countries “deserve to know each other much, much better.”
Pledging Moscow “would not interfere with the domestic affairs of a sovereign state,” Khovaev said the Philippines only needs to formulate a wish list of needed support.
“Think of what kind of assistance you expect from Russia and we will be ready to sit down with you and discuss what can and should be done,” the envoy said, a day after Duterte told at least 200 business people in Beijing that “America has lost the Philippines.”
“I’ve realigned myself in your [China] ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to [President Vladimir] Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world—China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way,” he said.
While Duterte also clarified that the “separation” only meant a separation of foreign policy and not severance of ties, he also underscored the value of mutual respect among sovereign nations.
But Duterte said there was no need to dovetail Philippine foreign policy with that of America and said “we always follow and follow. I will not follow.
It was not the first time, the Philippines sought Moscow amid displeasure at the prevailing state of relations with the United States.
Shortly before the end of the Vietnam war in 1975, former President Ferdinand Marcos sought to reestablish ties with the then Soviet Union, through then Executive Secretary Alejandro Melchor, and formal relations commenced in 1976. Marcos visited Moscow in 1980.
Duterte admitted that he was upset with the US because he felt disrespected several times in the past and blamed the US for being the cause of the terrorism being experienced worldwide.
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