PHL, Russian officials start to explore defense cooperation

MANILA — As ties between Philippines and Russia start to warm up, officials from the two nations have met earlier this January to explore cooperative defense activities between the two nations.

This was disclosed by the Department of National Defense’s Office of the Assistant Secretary Raymund Jose G. Quilop (Assessments and International Affairs) in a statement.

The discussions resulted in a set of bilateral activities to include high level exchanges, visits of military ships, conferences and seminars, policy level and general staff consultations, reciprocal visits of delegations and observers for military exercises, visits of each side’s military-educational establishments and scientific-research agencies.

The meetings took place last January 16.

The identified activities will be held either in the Philippines or in Russia.

“The resulting action plan will be approved by relevant authorities of both ministries, with the listed items being seen as tangible implementation of the Agreement on Defense Cooperation which is slated to be signed when President Rodrigo Duterte visits Russia later this year,”it added.

Previously held consultations on this agreement have resulted in a mutually acceptable text which is currently going through their respective internal vetting and approval processes.

While both delegations explored various mechanisms to promote Philippine-Russia defense relations, both sides acknowledged the need to pursue cooperation in a step-by-step but sustained manner based on mutual trust and respect for each other’s internal processes.

The items contained in the draft action are considered as the initial undertakings for moving the bilateral defense relations forward.