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Duterte’s visit is expected to stimulate the low key relationship as the Philippines tries to explore better alliances outside its usual ally, the US. Duterte is also shopping for good deals in power generation while offering the Philippines’ agricultural produce and expanding existing exports such as bananas and dried mangoes. Sorreta said Russia “can provide a whole range of nuclear energy,” including the modular type that can drastically reduce power cost in the Philippines on a lease arrangement. “Russia is a major power in terms of energy. Deep cooperation with Russia on energy not just on fossil fuels but on higher technology, renewable sources, or more modern energy can bring energy prices down quite a lot,” explained the Filipino envoy to visiting Filipino mediamen covering the Duterte visit. Duterte has veered away from the US and had instead pushed for a foreign policy shift aimed at expanding the diplomatic horizons of the Philippines by talking with America’s rivals, Russia and China. Sorreta said Russia’s apparent observance of a policy of non-interference is one vital consideration for an independent diplomatic scheme that the Duterte administration is pursuing. “They think sovereign states are capable of making decisions for themselves and will benefit or suffer by those decisions but never should an external state interfere in the sovereign affairs of the Philippines or of Russia,” he noted. “Right now, they want to start heavily on the economic and then eventually on security, but not on the strategic security, just defense cooperation,” he explained. Duterte and his delegation of top Philippine officials arrived here Monday for a four-day official visit upon the invitation by both Medvedev and Putin, whom the Filipino leader met on different international events last year.
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