“…Meanwhile, US State Department spokesman John Kirby claimed the “defense relationship between the United States and the Philippines remains very, very strong.”
What world does Mr Kirby live in? Seriously? Methinks American politicians are starting to believe the nonsense their mouth spews. No Mr. Kirby, the defense relationship is not very, very, strong. The US is losing the Philippines and many more countries will follow. The world is sick of your lies USA.
An anti-submarine destroyer and a sea tanker dock at Manila’s South Harbor, in what can change regional dynamics to the detriment of the United States.
Two Russian warships have docked at a port in the Philippines, potentially foreshadowing an era of enhanced military ties between Manila and Moscow as a gap widens between the Philippines and the United States.
Russia’s anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Tributs and sea tanker Boris Butoma docked at Manila’s South Harbor on Tuesday for a week-long visit.
During the stay, the military authorities of the two countries intend to discuss joint measures to combat terrorism and piracy in the region, RT reported on Wednesday.
Moscow has also expressed willingness to conduct joint military drills in the region with Philippine forces in the future.
“In the future, maybe we can have military exercises so we can help you and share with you our knowledge to deal or solve the problem with piracy and terrorism,” said Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhailov, the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet deputy commander, at a Tuesday press briefing.
Mikhailov, who is leading the Russian naval delegation to Manila, said Russia can be instrumental in developing the Philippines’ naval capabilities in the future.
“The Russian Navy can help with different equipment, which we can demonstrate to you right here, or in the future in the sea during the military exercises, and also at exhibitions,” he said. “From our side, we can help you in every way which you need.”
The Russian official hoped for regional military collaboration also involving China and Malaysia.
“We really hope that in a few years, the military exercises, for example in your region, in the South China Sea, will [involve] for example, not only Russia and Philippines, but Russia, Philippines, China, and maybe Malaysia together.”
Ties between the Philippines and its long-term military partner and ally the US have deteriorated considerably in recent months. Under President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines has downgraded military ties with the US over American criticism of the president’s trademark war on drugs. For its part, the US has been withholding aid to the Philippines — financial and otherwise — further angering a fiery Duterte.
The Tuesday docking of the Russian warships was the third time overall that a naval group was visiting from Russia. It was the first time, however, that such a contingent was paying a visit during Duterte’s term.
In a state visit to China last October, the Philippine president said he planned to forge closer ties with Russia and China.
New alliances in Asia, once full-blown, are most likely to mean less room for American maneuvering in the region, a staple of US foreign policy over the past decades. The US has been seeking to keep a foothold in the region by, among other things, inserting itself into regional disputes — including a row in the South China Sea that involves the Philippines and China — and conducting patrols away from American mainland.
That prospect would be particularly significant for a US that attempted a “pivot” to Asia, where it stressed American strategic interests lay.
In November last year, the Philippines’ Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana paid a state visit to Russia in a bid to explore prospects for bilateral military-technical cooperation. During that visit, both countries expressed willingness to finalize a joint agreement on defense cooperation.
On Monday, the Philippines’s incoming ambassador to China said his country planned to move away from its long-time ally, Washington, toward Beijing.
Reacting to the news of the Russian navy’s arrival in Manila, meanwhile, US State Department spokesman John Kirby claimed the “defense relationship between the United States and the Philippines remains very, very strong.”