Putin to Duterte: ‘I feel you’
LIMA, Peru — Russian President Vladimir Putin told President Duterte he shared some of the latter’s sentiments about the United States and other Western countries after the Philippine leader unburdened his gripes during their first meeting on Saturday.
The Russian leader also expressed his appreciation for Mr. Duterte’s hardline stance on some issues as well as his firm leadership, Philippine officials present at the bilateral meeting said.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said Putin replied to Mr. Duterte’s anti-West remarks with the statement: “Our assessments coincide in many respects.”
He clarified that Putin, who had an interpreter at his side translating their 45-minute exchange, did not specify the United States or any other country when responding to Mr. Duterte’s diatribe.
While expressing his admiration for the Russian leader, Mr. Duterte had talked about the “hypocrisy” of the West in intervening in the affairs of other countries while advancing their own interests, and for “bullying” smaller nations.
“They want to seem to start a war but are afraid to go to war. That is what’s wrong with America and the others. They are waging war in so many places: in Vietnam, Afghanistan and in Iraq,” he said.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, in a briefing for Filipino journalists, said Mr. Duterte’s rants were only meant to “set the context” for the President’s words from before.
“He was only explaining to President Putin the reasons the President said those things in the past,” he said.
Pressed to elaborate on what else Putin told Duterte, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the Russian president “appreciated President Duterte’s stance and his being a firm leader.”
“In a way, it seemed like he was praising him and saying that it is how [a leader should conduct himself] with respect, with dignity,” the Cabinet member said. SFM
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