Why is Duterte dancing with the Russian bear?

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's recent visit to Russia is not, as some have dismissed, yet another of his bromances with fellow strongmen, in this case Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It is instead a determined effort to diversify his country's strategic partners. After a century of mutual estrangement, the two countries are seriously exploring more robust defence and energy cooperation, with potential repercussions for the South China Sea disputes.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2019, with the headline 'Why is Duterte dancing with the Russian bear?'. Print Edition | Subscribe