Philippines, China play down Duterte's talk of war in disputed sea

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It has been blamed for a bomb attack that killed 15 people in southern Davao city, President Rodrigo Duterte's hometown, last September and a number of attacks on government forces in Lanao, although it has faced setbacks from a series of military offensives.

Trump's support for Duterte's tactics also mark a significant departure from the policies of Obama's administration, which had shown a willingness to confront the Philippines president on the issue of drug enforcement. He has also suggested he and Putin share passions such as guns and hunting.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte flew to Russian Federation on Monday to meet his hero, seek arms and steer his nation's foreign policy further away from longtime ally the United States.

The Philippines is also facing jihadist attacks by Abu Sayyaf, the Islamic State affiliate in the country, which has become increasingly aggressive in the Muslim-majority south of the country, where Duterte is from.

This was a follow-up to Moscow's commitment to President Rodrigo R. Duterte late November previous year made in a bilateral meeting during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' meeting in Lima, Peru.

"I hope China solves the problem", Trump said.

In his departure speech, Duterte said the visit underscores his independent foreign policy and desire to forge closer ties with Russian Federation, which "must cease to be on the margins of Philippine diplomacy".

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Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Monday that the talks between Duterte and Xi had been about how to avoid conflict and there was no language or tone of disrespect.

On Friday, May 26, Duterte will depart Moscow for St. Petersburg for the Philippine-Russia Business Forum.

"Overdependence on traditional partners has limited our room to manoeuvre in a very dynamic global arena". And I said that since Russian Federation is brighter than America, I'll go to Russian Federation.

'This is a strategic oversight that has led to many missed opportunities for our country. "I am determined to correct this", he said during his departure message at the F. Bangoy worldwide Airport in Davao City Monday. "I've never seen anything like they are but we don't have to use this but he could be insane so we will see what happens".

Trump recently extended a White House invitation to Duterte during a "very friendly conversation", triggering an avalanche of criticism from human rights groups. In an interview with Moscow-based TV network Russia Today, President Duterte said that though he has nothing against the US, the Philippines needs a foreign policy that is independent of American interests: "I have nothing against America, [US President Donald] Trump is my friend".

Amid the threats of terrorism, drug trafficking and transnational crime, it is important to reach an agreement with Russian Federation in the area of security and defense, he said.

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