17:40 GMT08 May 2021
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    The United States has no issues with the potential joint military exercises between Russian and Philippines navy, US Department of State spokesman John Kirby said.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The announcment came after Russian destroyer Admiral Tributs and sea tanker Boris Butoma arrived Tuesday in the Philippines for a four day visit with a goal of taking part in potential bilateral navy drills.

    "I think I’d let the Philippine Government and the Russian Government speak to the degree of their bilateral defense relations and how that is taking shape. I’ve said many times… that foreign relations aren’t binary… And these choices that countries have to make are not binary choices, and every nation-state has the right to pursue bilateral relations of its own choosing," Kirby told journalists in a briefing on Tuesday commenting on the reports that Russian Pacific Fleet and Philippines navy may hold joint exercises.

    He added that should the drills take place "it won’t affect how we view the importance of our bilateral relationship with the Philippines."

    In October, President Rodrigo Duterte said his country could build a defense and economic alliance with Russia and China.

    On November 20, Duterte said he planned to send defense and foreign ministers to prepare for his visit to Russia at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin. Duterte is expected to visit Moscow later this year to hold talks on a range of agreements from weapons to communications.

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