By Genalyn Kabiling
The Philippines is planning to forge closer defense cooperation with Russia in fighting terrorism, violent extremism, and other transnational crimes.
President Duterte has disclosed plans to boost cooperative ties on security and defense when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.
The two leaders are expected to hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of the Valdai forum in Sochi City.
“In Sochi, I will meet President Putin to take stock of the state of our bilateral relations. We will identify ways of further intensifying cooperation areas of security and defense, combating terrorism and violent extremism, and addressing transnational crimes,” Duterte said before flying to Russia Tuesday night.
“I will take the opportunity to discuss regional and global developments that impact the Philippines and Russia as key points of convergence of national interests where we can work together,” he added.
Duterte, accompanied by several Cabinet members, has embarked on his second visit to Russia upon the invitation of Putin. He said he considers his Russia trip as an important opportunity to broaden the country’s relations with the Asia Pacific ally.
The two leaders are expected to witness the signing of key agreements on political cooperation, health, science and technology, and culture after their bilateral talks.
The President’s packed schedule in Russia includes his attendance in the Forum of the Valdai International Discussion Club, meeting with Russian business leaders, as well as an assembly with the Filipino community.
Duterte said his visit reaffirms the country’s resolve to build a robust and comprehensive partnership with Russia based on shared interests, pragmatism, and mutual trust and respect.