Duterte seeks to further broaden engagement with Russia on 2nd visit
President Rodrigo Duterte underscored on Tuesday the importance of his second visit to Russia, saying it will be an opportunity to further broaden and deepen the engagement of the two countries.
Duterte left Tuesday night for Sochi, the first leg of his two-city Russian trip via a Philippine Airlines chartered flight.
"I welcome this second visit as an important opportunity to further broaden and deepen our engagement with a country we share key strategic interests with both bilaterally and in the larger Asia-Pacific region," he said in his departure speech at the Ninoy International Airport Terminal II.
In his bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Duterte said they will identify ways of further intensifying cooperation in "areas of security and defense, combatting terrorism and violent extremism, and addressing transnational crimes."
"We expect key agreements - including in political cooperation, health, science and technology, and culture - to be signed," he said.
Duterte said his attendance at the Forum of the Valdai International Discussion Club, along with Putin and other world leaders, will be an opportune occasion to articulate, to a key audience the independent Philippine foreign policy, "one that is based on respect for sovereignty and non-interference, the time-honoured principles of international law."
"Apparently this most basic principle of a rule that governs the relations between nations have been forgotten by some idiots in some parts of the world," he added.
Duterte will also proceed to Moscow where he will meet Filipino and Russian business leaders to encourage more economic linkages.
He will also engage academics and the students of the Moscow Institute of International Relations University.
Duterte will also meet the Filipino community.
"With hard work from both the Philippines and Russia, we can begin realizing the benefits of a partnership more than four decades in the making," the President said.
Among the members of the President's official delegation include Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Agriculture Secretary William Dar, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Communications Sectetary Jose Ruperto Martin Andanar, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, and Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta.
Duterte first visited Russia in May 2017. But it was cut short due to Marawi siege. Celerina Monte/DMS