Improving Philippines-Russia ties a wake-up call for US – Panelo
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday said the United States may feel “a little insecure” amid the Philippines’ warming ties with Russia.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo issued the statement following President Rodrigo Duterte’s second visit to Moscow last week.
“I don’t think it will be affected [relationship with US]. Perhaps if there is any effect, it would be for the better because the US will now feel a little insecure about it,” Panelo said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
Panelo said the President’s recent five-day official visit to the Russian cities of Moscow and Sochi, which secured P620 million worth of business deals for the Philippines, should prompt the US, its only defense ally, to be “more open to giving us fair deals.”
Then-US president Barack Obama was one of Duterte’s drug war critics, prompting the Philippine leader to threaten to cut ties with the country’s longtime ally.
The two nations’ relationship recuperated under the presidency of Donald Trump, whom Duterte regarded as his “friend.”
Malacañang had repeatedly insisted that Duterte’s pivot to non-traditional Philippine allies like Russia and China will not affect the long-standing Philippine-US ties.
In a speech in Sochi, however, Duterte took a swipe at the “so-called friends” of the Philippines who “act like they know the answers to our problems.”
“They weaponize human rights oblivious to its damaging consequences,” he said, without identifying who he was referring to.
Despite the US stand against his war on drugs and its move to stop the sale of weapons on human rights concerns, Duterte said he has nothing against Washington, which he said remained “a close friend” of the Philippines. /gsg
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