PH needs to expand circle of allies: Russia. World powers show interest in strategic partnerships. Russia offers reliable and unconditional, close friendship.

Russia offers friendship.

PICS Courtesy: Wikipedia

PICS Courtesy: Wikipedia

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The growing influence of the Philippines is becoming more and more evident as it wriggles out of the American influence. Gone are the days when the United States was its only ally.

While the Philippines remain a major non-NATO ally of the United States, things have not been the same of late. At the center of the bickering and disagreements are US accusations about the deaths due to the war on drugs.

In addition, the open threats of the Filipino President to end the alliance with the US exacerbated the situation further. Both the nations outwardly maintain appearance but are gradually moving apart.
The United Nations rapporteur Agnes Callamard decided to lend a helping hand to the US by making unauthenticated allegations.
Moreover, diplomatic initiatives by Duterte have also resulted in his nation moving closer to China.

The Russian advance

With two major world powers vying with each other to woo the Filipino nation, Russia could not lag far behind. Moreover, it fits in with the scheme of things that any nation would like to have.

Furthermore, the Russian Ambassador to the Philippines, Igor Khovaev spelt out the scenario quite aptly. He stated that the Philippines needed to keep aside all scruples and misgivings and expand its associations further.

In simple words, the circle of friends needs expansion to diversify its reach and interests further. In this respect, he offered his country’s close friendship and opted to become a new partner that is dependable.

Thus, the overhauling of alliances of the nation to benefit the interests of the nation is in order. He called a press conference aboard The Admiral Tributs a submarine destroyer in south harbor.

It is part of a visit by two naval vessels on a five day visit to the Philippines.

Meanwhile, two ships of the Japanese navy arrived yesterday at Subic Bay, Olangapo for a three-day visit. They are part of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Escort Division.

Though, there is no diplomatic issue, it just seems a routine port call. They are here for maintenance, crew rest and homewards bound after anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

However, he was unequivocal in declaring that this friendship would not be at the cost of any other association. The Philippines can pursue its other relationships without any compromise or constraints.

Russia clarifies that it will not interfere in the affairs of other allies. In effect, the Philippines will be adding new partners while keeping old associations intact.

The Ambassador further clarified that this is not a call for building a new military relationship between the two nations. However, they wanted to explore the possibility of defense cooperation.

It was also not their intention to develop any fresh alliance in the Asia pacific region. He reiterated Russia’s oft stated position of ensuring equality of relations with all other nations. It was the basis of their Foreign Policy.

However, they have strived since a long time to set up a strategic bilateral relationship with the Philippines. The Russians wanted to develop their Siberian and far eastern regions adequately. In this context they wanted to develop a mechanism for multilateral cooperation with countries of the Asia Pacific region.

The need of the hour was the complete integration of Russia into such a mechanism, Khovaev asserted.

Since the Philippines emerged as a regional entity with an impressive presence, it was an important player to befriend. It was a significant player in the affairs of the Asia pacific as well as the next head of ASEAN.

That is why Russia wants to partner with this active regional leader. Thus, he continued, it is necessary for both nations to discover each other as partners.

The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte is looking out for newer partners around the world. He had expressed his interest in forming alliances with more countries like Russia.

He wants to follow his cherished desire to be independent of the US in his foreign relations policies. By unjustly criticizing his war on drugs, the United Stated had exposed a meaner streak of its policies.

In pursuance of this policy, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana visited Russia last month.

The intention was to explore possible avenues of defense cooperation and the purchase of defense hardware including war material.

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Umrao Singh
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson Thursday, 05 January 2017