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Russia and the Philippines sign military cooperation agreement

Russia and the Philippines signed an agreement for technical and military cooperation, the Russian Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the ministry said the two countries also agreed to a contract “for the provision of rocket-propelled grenade launchers to the Philippines” that are to be produced in Russia.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu signed the deal at a Association of Southeast Asian Nations defense ministers meeting in Pampanga. The ministry noted that Brunei is now the only country in the Asia-Pacific region that has never purchased Russian weapons.

Russia is also planning to formally hand over trucks, rifles and “a million rounds of ammunition” to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at a public ceremony on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Separately, Duterte met with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis met with Duterte on Tuesday, following the president’s meeting with Shoygu.

Both the U.S. and Russia are expected to send delegations to next month’s ASEAN summit in Manila.

“I‘m not really threatened by this notion that China or Russia are providing some military equipment to the Philippines,” U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim told reporters.

“We have been providing very important equipment to the Philippines for many, many years. The fact that the Chinese and the Russians have provided some rifles, I’m not sure is really such a cause for concern for the United States.”

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