Come often, Duterte tells Russian Navy

MANILA: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte visited the Russian warship docked in Manila port on Friday in a new gesture of rapprochement with Russia.
Accompanied by Russian military and diplomatic authorities, Duterte saw the anti-submarine missiles, a Ka-27 helicopter and other facilities of Admiral Tributs, a 7,480-tonne Udaloy-class destroyer that docked in Manila port on Tuesday for a five-day goodwill visit, Efe news reported.
“From the heart, I hope you can come back more often,” Duterte told Russian Navy officials after he signed the ship’s guest book and later posed for a photo with them and embassy staff.
“For our navies,” the Russian officials said as they imitated the trademark closed fist of Duterte as the photo was taken.
Duterte, who took office in June 2016, had promised to do away with the traditional military alliance with the US and has taken measures in recent months to develop closer diplomatic and economic ties with Russia and China.
He has threatened to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement, a bilateral accord with Washington in force since 1999. It permits, among other things, the use of Philippine bases by US troops and regular joint military drills.
Duterte, who strongly criticised the US and the West during his first bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in November 2016, is set to visit Moscow in April or May on the Kremlin’s invitation.
The warship’s visit will develop a stronger friendship between Manila and Moscow, said the Filipino presidential office in a statement on Friday.