Russian Navy sees terrorism, piracy as top Asia-Pacific threats
MANILA, Philippines – The Russian Navy sees terrorism and piracy as the "main threats" in the Asia-Pacific region, while keeping mum on the expansive claims of China in the South China Sea.
"If we take a look at the main threats, we think it's international piracy, and of course, international terrorist threat," said mission head Russian Navy Captain Sergey Alantiev during their goodwill visit to Manila on Monday, April 8. (READ: 3 Russian warships dock in Manila amid Balikatan)
"Especially the latter, my country has a great experience, and would be more than happy to share it with our Philippine colleagues," Alantiev added.
When asked about their stand on freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, Alantiev said, "The objective of this visit, as I have already said, the main objective is enhancing our naval cooperation with the Republic of the Philippines."
China has continued its militarization of the South China Sea, even reaching the West Philippine Sea – the part of the sea which belongs to the Philippines.
Alantiev is leading a 3-ship delegation of the Russian Navy's Pacific Fleet to Manila for a 5-day visit ending on Saturday, April 13. The visit, according to the Philippine and Russian navies, promotes peace and stability in the region, as they nurture their cooperation further. (READ: PH pivot to Russia advances with port visit, submarine talks)
Alantiev explained that their visit would include "joint drills on navigation, communication, and special training" with quick response forces of the Philippines. Philippine Navy representative Captain Constancio Reyes Jr added that they will hold "confidence-building" activities during the Russians' stay.
Ever since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office, the Philippines has been pivoting from its traditional ally, the United States, to Russia and China.
The visit coincides with the Philippines' annual joint military exercises with the US Armed Forces, which have been vocal in the call for freedom of navigation in the Asia-Pacific. – Rappler.com