Duterte Visit to Moscow: Seeks Military, Energy Cooperation

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte made a state visit to Moscow October 2–6. Among other points, Duterte invited Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin to invest in oil and gas development in the Philippines. Comments shortly thereafter by Philippines Ambassador to Russia Carlos Sorreta suggested that the fact that Russia is not a claimant state in the South China Sea (unlike China) played a role in Duterte’s proposal, but analysts have said that Russia is unlikely to do anything that risks destabilizing the positivity that currently characterizes its relationship with Beijing. Separately, Rosneft signed an agreement with the Philippines Department of Energy regarding future cooperation on the construction of nuclear power plants in the Philippines. This follows a cooperation agreement signed by the Philippines Ministry of Science and Technology and Rosatom in November 2017 on peaceful applications of nuclear technology. There is nothing to indicate that China has sought to cooperate with the Philippines on nuclear development.