Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte said through his spokesman that he is open to joint drills with Russia.
Moscow is ready to help Manila ratchet up its defense capabilities but establishing a military union is not on agenda.
Philippines are ready to buy arms from Russia if there is money amid a rift in relations with the United States, the country’s President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday.
On November 8, Duterte claimed he would cancel an order for 26,000 US-made M16 rifles, originally intended to arm the country’s national police, to “look for a cheaper source.”
“He [Russian President Vladimir Putin] was pleased to hear our offer of friendship, pleased with the fact that the initiative came from us. Not because we need money … or arms. If we have money, we will buy them [arms],” Duterte told the Rossiya-24 broadcaster.
The Philippine president stressed that his country did not participate “in any military blocs.”
“We have not discussed anything similar neither with Russia, nor with China, except the issues of trade, finance and economy. But, perhaps, in the future we will have to do business with the European Union and Russia in the area of arms trade since it seems that the Americans have canceled orders on arms supplies [to the Philippines],” Duterte said.
On November 19, Putin was taking part in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council the Peruvian capital of Lima. On the sidelines of the event, the Russian leader held a separate meeting with his Philippine counterpart.
On September 7, the Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov has met the Undersecretary of the Department of National Defense of the Philippines Raymundo De Vera Elefante within the International military and technical forum Army-2016.
The parties confirmed the mutual interest in strengthening of relationships between the military departments of both countries as well as in development of bilateral dialogue on global and regional security, naval interaction and cooperation in the field of preparation of military personnel of the Philippines in the educational institutions of the Russian Defence Ministry.
Anatoly Antonov paid attention to the necessity of improvement of the legal framework of cooperation for intensification of contacts in the military field.
The negotiations were held in a friendly atmosphere.