Duterte Wants Stronger Defense Ties With Russia, Criticizes U.S.

Andreo Calonzo

(Bloomberg) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte used his second visit to Russia as an opportunity to again criticize the U.S. for being critical of his war on drugs, as he sought greater defense ties with Moscow.

In a speech at an event organized by a Russian think tank in Sochi, Duterte took a swipe at “so-called friends” of the Philippines who “act like they know the answers to our problems.”

“They create rules and norms for almost everyone, and some refuse to be bound by the same,” he said, according to a transcript of his speech. “They weaponize human rights oblivious to its damaging consequences.”

During the open forum, Duterte said the U.S. has “criticized heavily” his war on drugs that has killed thousands, and stopped the sale of weapons due to human rights concerns. He however also said that he has nothing against the U.S., which he described as “a close friend” and “our only treaty ally.”

In his bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin Thursday, Duterte said he has a “long-term commitment to elevate" defense relations with Russia. Putin, for his part, said Russia wants greater trade and economic ties with the Philippines.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andreo Calonzo in Manila at acalonzo1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecilia Yap at cyap19@bloomberg.net, Colin Keatinge

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