Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin (Source:http://www.philstar.com)
Hanoi (VNA) - The Philippines and Russia are planning to strengthen their respective defense presence by opening defense attache offices in Manila and Moscow, a Philippine diplomat has said.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, will witness the signing of a number of defense cooperation and other bilateral agreements during the former's official visit to Russia from May 22 to 26, Philippine Assistant Foreign Secretary Maria Cleofe Natividad said at a press conference on May 19.

According to Natividad, the agreements are related to defense, security, legal assistance, trade and investment, nuclear energy use for peaceful and culture purpose.

She noted the Philippines looks forward to having greater exchanges of views on how to deal with security challenges as well as strengthen presence of defense attache offices in both Moscow and Manila, which are expected to help reinforce the bilateral partnership in approaching both traditional and non-traditional security matters such as the fight against terrorism and illegal drug-trafficking.

Duterte's upcoming official visit to Russia will open a new chapter in the Philippines-Russia relations, she stressed, adding that the visit shows the strong desire of the Southeast Asian nation to enhance ties between the two countries.-VNA