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Jakarta Post

Russia eyeing ‘partnership,’ not military alliance, with Philippines

  • Jhesset O. Enano

    Associated Press

Manila   /   Wed, November 30, 2016   /  05:58 pm
Russia eyeing ‘partnership,’ not military alliance, with Philippines Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (fourth from right on the upper deck) tours the newly-commissioned vessel BRP Tubbataha during its 115th anniversary celebration, Oct.12, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. (AP/Bullit Marquez)

Russia is not seeking a military alliance with the Philippines but is looking at intensifying its “partnership” and “friendship” with Manila, its ambassador said on Tuesda

Ambassador Igor Khovaev stressed that Moscow did not have any military alliances in the Asia-Pacific region and intended to keep it that way, despite warming ties between the two nations.

“If some countries create close military alliances, it means that they want to ensure their security to some extent at the expense of other members of the international community,” he stated at a news conference.

“It’s not the way for us,” the envoy added, noting that Russia was in favor of a “new architecture of equal security for all regions and nations.”

He refused to comment on the Philippines’ other military alliances.

However, he said that “no other country should interfere with the relationship between the Philippines and Russia.”

Khovaev emphasised that their current ties with China, Vietnam and India were based on a model of “strategic partnership” and not a military commitment.

He said Russia remained open to all options, including the long-term supply of military hardware “without political conditionality,” such as adherence to human rights. He was apparently alluding to the US Congress’ conditions for military assistance.

Since taking power in June, President Duterte has had an uneasy relationship with the US. He has declared intentions to bolster relations with China and Russia as he revamps the Philippine foreign policy that has long leaned on Washington.

He has spoken about a “new world order” led by the two regional behemoths, and has openly expressed his admiration for Russian leader Vladimir Putin, calling him his “favorite hero.”

Khovaev said the feeling between the two leaders was “mutual.” The leaders had the opportunity to meet briefly on the sidelines of a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in Peru and both appeared to show “trust in each other.”

Specifics on the partnership would have to be made at the lower level, with both nations looking at agreements on agriculture, telecommunications and infrastructure, among others.

The diplomat also noted that Russia is open to supplying arms to the Philippines and other interested nations.

“We are interested not only in the long-term supply of weapons but also in the maintenance [of arms],” Khovaev said. 

“We are also ready to provide assistance to build on defense,” Khovaev added.

He stressed, however, that the Russian approach to this particular partnership has “no political conditionality.”

“We do not use arms for political pressure,” he said, adding, “Business is business.”

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