Putin To Visit Philippines, as Manila and Beijing Discuss Developing South China Sea Oil

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Oct. 28 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted an invitation from Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to pay a state visit to Manila, at a date to be determined. The Philippines is also holding talks this week with China regarding plans to launch joint exploration and development of oil and gas resources in the contested regions of the South China Sea. As expected, the neocons are furious about both.

Russia’s Ambassador to Manila Igor Khovaev told reporters Oct. 26 that Putin had accepted Duterte’s invitation “with gratitude.” He said that Russia “would do our best to arrange this meeting as soon as possible.”

Hermogenes Esperon, Duterte’s national security adviser, told the press that China has proposed a 60-40 split in favor of the Philippines on the oil and gas project. Duterte had also invited Rosneft, Russia’s oil and gas company, to visit the Philippines during his visit to Russia last month.

On cue, Greg Poling, the director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the neocon Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, sent out a threat to Duterte sounding very much like the U.S. cut-off of F-35 sales and production capacity in Turkey when Ankara purchased Russian S-400 air defense systems.

“Russia is eager to boost its influence in the region, and doubtless doing so with a long-standing U.S. ally is seen as a bonus by Moscow,” Poling told Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post published today. “The U.S. will also be concerned if any acquisitions or cooperation with Russia might threaten information security or intelligence cooperation between the U.S. and the Philippines,” he further said. “And finally, any major platforms acquired from Russia would likely require the U.S. to impose sanctions on the Philippines unless a waiver is granted, and the U.S. government has been very stingy about awarding those waivers because they undermine the effectiveness of the sanctions regime,” Poling threatened.

A Russian-Philippine Naval pact is also under discussion: “Philippine naval vessels made their first-ever visit to Russia in October, while three Russian ships docked in the Philippines for a goodwill visit in January,” SCMP reports.

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