Duterte says meetings with Xi, Putin in Vietnam ‘most meaningful’
President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday described his bilateral meetings with China and Russia as the “most meaningful” among his meetings at the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (Apec) Summit in Vietnam.
In his arrival statement midnight of Sunday, Duterte said that at the Apec, he “took the opportunity to meet my counterparts from many economies. I renewed my friendship with President Vladimir Putin of Russia and with President Xi Jinping of China.”
He later described these meetings as “the most meaningful.”
Duterte said he “assured” Xi of “our friendship and that it will remain warm and robust.”
He said that in response, Xi told him that China supports him in the Philippine government’s campaign against insurgency and illegal drugs, “and the help that they can extend to us.”
Duterte also said that he saw “a very bright future for our relationship” with China.
“Nothing to do with military,” he said. “I have stated before and I was not lying, I would not entertain talks about military or anything except that I had to thank Mr. Xi Jinping for the timely and crucial help that he extended to our country when we were fighting the siege of Marawi.”
Duterte said his meeting with Putin “was a very fruitful one.”
“They have extended their open support for us in fighting terrorism and drugs,” Duterte said. “And almost all of them also have the same problem. So, they are easy to talk to. They’re also suffering from the same the scourge with drugs.”
Since becoming President last year, Duterte has openly expressed his admiration for Xi and Putin, even calling the Russian leader his “hero.”
Duterte has sought to change the frosty relationship between China and the Philippines under then President Benigno Aquino III over the maritime dispute in the South China Sea.
At that time, the Philippines led the claimant countries in the Southeast Asian region in calling out China which had built artificial islands in the disputed reefs and atolls in an effort to mark its territory in the South China Sea.
Duterte also derided the US, the oldest security ally of the Philippines, after then President Barack Obama criticized his war against illegal drugs.
Duterte actively sought to purchase military equipment from Russia, even if Philippine military trainings, protocols, and materiel have always been aligned with the US. /atm
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.