Rody slams âbullyâ West: Meets âidolâ Putin, Xi
IDOL: President Duterte meets with his counterpart Vladimir Putin of Russia during bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, Peru on Saturday.

Rody slams ‘bully’ West: Meets ‘idol’ Putin, Xi

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - November 21, 2016 - 12:00am

LIMA – President Duterte finally met here Saturday the man he called his idol, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and took the opportunity to rant against the Western nations’ supposed hypocrisy and alleged bullying of smaller countries.

Duterte, in particular, chided the United States and other Western nations for supposedly forcing their allies, including the Philippines, to join them in the wars they waged.

Last September, Duterte was slated to meet with Putin and US President Barack Obama, among other leaders, on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Laos.

But Putin did not attend the summit while Duterte’s meeting with Obama was called off after he criticized the US leader ahead of the event.

“Of late, I see a lot of these Western nations bullying small nations. And not only that, they are into so much hypocrisy… They seem to start a war but are afraid to go to war. That is what’s wrong with America and the others,” Duterte told Putin during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

“They insist if you are allied with them that (you follow them),” the Philippine leader added.

President Rodrigo Duterte meets with China's president Xi Jinping during bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, Peru on Saturday.

Duterte said the US asked the Philippines to send troops to Iraq, Vietnam and South Korea at different times in the past but “nothing happened.”

Duterte said the US went to “an expedition in Iraq on an excuse of weapons of mass destruction” but there was none.

“They (US) forced my country to contribute military forces. And when one Filipino worker in the Middle East was captured by the groups there, they threatened to behead the Filipino unless we (get) out of (the) war against the Middle East at that time,” he added.

“The condition was that if we withdraw our forces, then they would spare the life of the Filipino worker. And we decided to withdraw,” Duterte said.

Duterte was referring to Angelo dela Cruz, a Filipino migrant worker who was kidnapped by Iraqi rebels in 2004. Dela Cruz’s abductors demanded that the Philippines pull out its troops in Baghdad in exchange for his freedom. Then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gave in to the demand, earning criticisms from the US and its allies.

“From that time on, the Americans made it hard for us,” Duterte said.

The relationship between the Philippines and the US has had rough sailing under Duterte mainly due to differences over Manila’s intense campaign against illegal drugs.

The US, the European Union and the United Nations have raised concerns over the crackdown, which they fear would result in summary executions and human rights abuses. Duterte was angered by their comments and accused them of meddling with the Philippines’ affairs.

Duterte also mentioned his anti-drug war during his meeting with Putin. Duterte informed Putin about his hardline stance against illegal drugs during his stint as mayor of Davao City.

Exchange of pleasantries

While Duterte had tough words against the US and other Western nations, he was all praises for Putin, whom he had been describing as his idol. Duterte said he and Putin also seemed to share a passion for guns and women.

Duterte said the Cold War had stood between their two countries as the Philippines, a former US colony was historically identified with the West. The Cold War, or a state of political and military tension, involved the Soviet Union and the US and their allies between 1947 and 1991.

Since taking office in June, the foul-mouthed Duterte had upended the Philippines’ military alliance with the US, repeatedly saying he was shifting toward China and Russia as he embarked on an independent foreign policy.

“It was good while it lasted,” Duterte told Putin of what he called his “separation” from the US.

“I have been looking for this moment to meet you, Mr. President, not only because you represent a great country but (because of) your leadership, too,” the President said, adding “we’ve been longing to be part of Europe especially in commerce and trade around the world.”

Duterte was apparently referring to his administration’s efforts to boost economic ties with other countries.

Putin, for his part, congratulated Duterte for winning the 2016 presidential race, which coincided with Russia’s Victory Day commemorating the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in 1945.

“Mr. President, in the presidential election in your country was held on the 9th of May for us it is indeed a very bright day, public holiday that marks the victory in the Great Patriotic War over the Nazis group,” Putin said.

The Great Patriotic War constituted the largest military confrontation in history, which eventually led to the rise of the then Soviet Union or Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) as a military and industrial superpower.

“For you, it has been your personal victory so once again congratulations, Mr. President,” the Russian leader added.

Putin noted the Philippines and Russia were celebrating the 40th anniversary of their diplomatic ties this year.

“You (Duterte) have been able to do a lot in a short period of time in terms of developing the partnerships between our countries and with respect to promoting greater trust and confidence between us. And it is my pleasure to have a chance to speak to you and your colleagues about developing our bilaterals,” he said.

Stronger ties

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. described the bilateral meeting between Duterte and Putin as “very encouraging.”

And in an apparent effort to explain Duterte’s tirades against the West, Yasay said Duterte talked about the “mistakes of the past” so everyone could learn from them.

“I’d like to tell our people that it is very important for everybody to make sure (that) in order for them to successfully move forward, in forging a brighter future for our country, we must learn from the mistakes in the past,” Yasay said.

“Unless we are able to recognize that and acknowledge that our own mistakes made, then there will be no way that we can move forward and I think the President conveyed the message quite clear to the president of Russia,” he added.

Yasay said the two countries agreed to foster a stronger trade relationship because even after 40 years of diplomatic ties, “our relationship has not really matured especially in the area of trade and investment.”

“But this time, we are going to push through (with) it, the President has explained to President Putin the historical basis of our present situation, why it was necessary for us to really engage in an independent foreign policy,” he added.

Yasay said Putin had formally invited Duterte to visit Russia to discuss ways to further strengthen the ties between Manila and Moscow. He said he would also visit Russia next month to discuss possible bilateral agreements.

“I look forward for even a more optimistic and closer and more detailed discussion of the president with the head of state of Russia and that will mark the beginning of our entering into various agreements that will achieve our objective and goals,” Yasay said.

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