Duterte to make second visit to Russia in October

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver a speech at the Valdai Forum in the city of Sochi.
Updated 28 September 2019

Duterte to make second visit to Russia in October

  • The highlight of the trip will be Duterte’s bilateral meeting with Putin

MANILA: At the invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will return to Moscow in October, more than two years after his first visit was cut short when violence erupted in Marawi City in May 2017.

The highlight of the trip will be Duterte’s bilateral meeting with Putin, where they will discuss the state of Philippines-Russia relations and enhancing cooperation.

Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Ma. Amelita Aquino said the two leaders will also exchange views on regional and global developments, among other issues.

They will also witness the exchange of several bilateral agreements covering practical areas of cooperation.

This will be the fourth meeting of the two presidents. They first met in November 2016 on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum (APEC) Summit in Peru, and after the visit to Russia in May 2017, they met again in November o the sidelines of the APEC Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam. In the early days of his presidency, Duterte called Putin his “favorite hero.”

Meanwhile, President Duterte will also deliver a speech at the Valdai Forum in the Russian city of Sochi, where other world leaders were also invited to talk on the theme “The World Order Seen from the East.”

This is the first time that a Filipino leader has been invited to the annual forum organized by the Valdai Discussion Club, one of Russia’s prominent think tanks and discussion groups.

Given the theme of the forum, Duterte is expected to give his perspective of the world order as it is emerging and how this relates to Philippine foreign policy, according to Chief of Presidential Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs Rober Borje.

“Of course, we can surmise that the president will include in his statement an explanation of his independent foreign policy,” he added.

During his visit, Duterte will also deliver a brief lecture at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, one of the most prestigious institutions in Russia in the area of diplomacy and international affairs.

He will also attend the Philippines-Russia Business Forum to promote the trade and investment opportunities between the two nations. It will also serve as a venue for networking between Russian and Filipino businessmen.

Earlier, Russian Deputy Minister for Industry and Trade Aleksey Gruzdev said that his country wants to explore new areas of trade and cooperation with the Philippines. He cited such areas as pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, civil aviation, infrastructure including airport development, railways and power.

Gruzdev, who is also co-chair of the Joint Russia-Philippines Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation, led a Russian delegation in a two-day visit to Manila this week.

“We want more complex, not just buy and sell, but profound and long standing joint ventures,” he said in a press conference at the residence of Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev on Wednesday.

Gruzdev added that trade between Philippines and Russia “is developing quite rapidly” and is now worth $1.2 billion, seeing a 100 percent growth in a year. But, as he pointed out, trade and economic relations between the two nations are not particularly diversified, hence their desire to explore new possibilities.


Six killed as avalanche buries Indian patrol on disputed glacier

Updated 18 November 2019

Six killed as avalanche buries Indian patrol on disputed glacier

  • The disaster was the latest on the Siachen Glacier at more than 5,000 meters
  • Hundreds of troops from both sides have died in avalanches and from the fierce climate

SRINAGAR: An avalanche on Monday hit an Indian patrol in the world’s highest militarised zone in the Himalayas, killing four soldiers and two porters, an army spokesman said.
The disaster was the latest on the Siachen Glacier at more than 5,000 meters (16,500 feet) that is claimed by India and rival Pakistan.
Hundreds of troops from both sides have died in avalanches and from the fierce climate in the region over the past three decades.
An Indian military spokesman told AFP that the avalanche engulfed eight people in the patrol at the northern end of the glacier in the Karakoram mountain range.
Rescue teams managed to dig the patrol members out of the snow, and they were taken by helicopter to hospital.
“Despite best efforts, six casualties which includes four soldiers and two civilian porters succumbed to extreme hypothermia,” said the spokesman, Col. Rajesh Kalia.
Avalanches are common on the 700-square-kilometer (270-square-mile) glacier, where temperatures regularly fall to minus 60 degrees Celsius (-76 Fahrenheit).
In 2016, 10 Indian soldiers were buried and killed.
About 900 Indian soldiers alone have died on the glacier since 1984, when Indian forces took complete control of Siachen.
The glacier is located at the northern end of the Line of Control that divides Kashmir, which India and Pakistan have fought over since 1947.

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