MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday heaped praises anew on Russia, saying the country is no pushover despite its defiance of the United States, the world’s largest economy and top military power.
“Russia is no pushover. Sabi nga they have invulnerable missiles that cannot be stopped and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin would not make that statement - that was really a threat, hindi yun advertisement,” Duterte said in a speech before Luzon local chief executives in Pampanga.
Duterte was referring to Putin’s announcement last week of an array of new nuclear weapons. In one of his most bellicose speeches in years, Putin said the new weapons can hit almost any point in the world and evade a US-built missile shield.
Duterte had turned to Russia and China, two US rivals, following criticism of his war on drugs by the previous US administration. Bilateral ties, however, have warmed under President Donald Trump.
China and Russia have both offered arms and other military equipment to the Philippines.
“To this day, in fairness to China and Russia, they never asked for anything,” Duterte said.
Security analysts have warned of a potential arms race following Russia’s announcement of its new nuclear weapons as well as China’s lack of transparency in its military spending.
Duterte warned that a conflict among the three large military powers will do the world no good.
“If war breaks out, America will melt first, but Russia and China will also follow suit. Kung bitawan nila ang nuclear warheads nila, it’s the end of the world,” he said.