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the philippines

A defense cooperation agreement between Russia and Philippines

BreakingNews @en di

Russia and the Philippines will hold talks on signing a defense cooperation agreement, according to a government decree, signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. On 20th of November, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte announced he will be sending his Foreign and Defense Ministers to Russia ahead of his own visit, at the personal invitation of President Vladimir Putin. Relationships between the Philippines and its long-term ally, the United States, have deteriorated in recent months. Duterte has said he is looking for other potential partners across the globe, including Russia and China. Last week the Filipino President met President Vladimir Putin for the first time at the APEC summit in Peru, where he praised his Russian counterpart’s leadership skills.


President Putin will meet leaders of Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, China and Peru on November 19

BreakingNews @en/Politics di

On Friday, Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin’s spokesman, affirmed that the Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to hold talks with the leaders of China, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and Peru on November 19 on the sidelines of the APEC summit due to open in Peru’s capital of Lima, which Putin will attend. Peskov went on saying that the administrations of the Russian and US presidents did not arrange a separate meeting of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama. However, the two leaders will be able to talk with each other in Peru. The Kremlin spokesman declined to specify the possible topics of the conversation, adding that the two leaders may discuss about “the most pressing issues.”

President Duterte wants peaceful relations with US

BreakingNews @en di

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said that he does not want to make an enemy out of the United States anymore, following the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election. In a speech before the Filipino community on the first day of his two-day official visit in Malaysia on Wednesday, Duterte briefly recounted the controversy surrounding his quarrel with his country’s long-standing ally, the US, and the advice he received to stop swearing at the western country and its leaders.

Russia is ready to provide assistance to Philippines

BreakingNews @en di

After the president of the Philippines announced a separation from the US on Thursday, Igor Khovaev, Russian Ambassador to Philippines, affirmed that Moscow is ready to provide assistance to and fully cooperate with Manila. The ambassador assured the news outlet that Moscow would not interfere with the domestic affairs of a sovereign state.

He also said that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte impressed Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev during a meeting in Laos last month, and that Moscow supports the leader’s fight against illegal drugs and criminality. Despite 65 years of close partnership, relations between the US and the Philippines have soured in recent months over Duterte’s controversial “war on drugs” which has led to the death of at least 3600 people since May.

Duterte criticized US President Barack Obama’s “arrogance” earlier this month, as he announced a trip to China to discuss partnership projects. It was from China that he would later announce the separation from the US.

The Philippines: Duerte accused of hundreds of murders

Asia @en/BreakingNews @en/Far East di

Duerte Rodrigo Roa, born in 1945, in May of 2016  won the presidential elections in the Philippines after a campaign by the exalted tones in which he spent its reputation of strong and unstoppable man, built from 1988 onwards occupying the chair of the Mayor of Davao, Capital the large island of Mindanao, in the southern archipelago.

Today, the statements released by a former death squad member, in front of the legislative assembly of the Senate, called Duerte into question as the inspirer and instigator of hundreds of killings during the years when he held the post of First Citizen of Davao.

Came to power with 39% of the votes, Duerte never rejected the nicknames that the press had attributed to him: Executioner, Punisher and other American B movie titles were obviously referring to the brutal and arbitrary methods with which the former mayor Duerte led his personal battle against corruption and drugs. On several occasions the local and international organizations for human rights expressed dismay and concern for the hundreds of extrajudicial executions carried out in the city of Davao during the long years of his government, whose victims were pusher, drug users, but also simple citizens.

Despite criticisms came even from the Vatican, the Filipinos, deeply Catholic, decided to grant their trust in Duerte, whose workhorse during the election campaign was the promise to kill 100,000 drug dealers and criminals in the first six months of Presidency. Five months after his elections, the 100,000 goal is still far away but organizations for Human Rights denounced the killing of about 3000 people and a substantial withdrawal of the state of law in large areas of the country. The police, which now seems to enjoy almost total impunity, has actually confirmed these figures.

The popularity of Duerte, during these five months of blood and violence, continued to grow, waterproof to complaints from NGOs and the many testimonies that prove the killing of civilians with clean records, including children, in the course of police operations.

Today, however, the testimony given before the Senate by Edgar Matobato, former member of a Davao death  squadron, opens even more disturbing scenarios and puts the president Duerte in an extremely awkward position.

The Lambada Boys, as the group of hit men was called, of which Matobato, 57 and fifty murders on his record, was member, would be responsible for hundreds of targeted killings, perpetrated in Davao in the last decades. The witness, called to speak in front of the gathered Senate by Senator Leila de Lima, former director of the Committee for Human Rights of the Philippines, said that Duerte was the instigator of these executions, whose victims were many local criminals and political opponents of the Mayor Duerte. Matobato spoke of bodies thrown to the crocodiles, torn bellies to prevent the appearance of the bodies buried in the sea and other brutalities attributable to orders came directly from Duerte, whose image appears now closer to that of a gangster then to that of a successful politician.

Leila de Lima, a great opponent of President and, according Matobato, missed target in 2009, when the hitmen team failed to complete her murder, will use the testimony to impeach Duerte and to create a logical and symbolic link between the violence that bloodied the city of Davao during his tenure, between 1988 and 2013, and today’s suspension of basic human rights, the basis of the war of the President to eradicate drug trafficking and exterminate the members of the small crime linked to the world of drug dealing.

Duerte, for now, did not answer the charges, but his spokesman have already begun to erect a defensive wall, questioning the credibility of Matobato and claiming that de Lima, who will soon have to appear before a parliamentary committee of inquiry, is embroiled in illicit activities related to drug trafficking.

The battle moves, therefore, in the open field and there are many who fear that a Duerte wounded, but still strong of popular support, could react in a disorderly way, dragging the country with him in a new era of violence and suspension of rights.


Luca Marchesini

The US warn Beijing in the South China Sea

Asia @en/BreakingNews @en di

The United States have decided to flex its muscles in the South China Sea to reassure regional allies and send a clear message to China, whose claims on the area appear more and more explicit.


Two Americans Carrier Strike Group (CSG), each composed of a aircraft carriers and other warships of large size, started last Saturday a series of military exercises in the territorial waters of the Philippines, a key ally in the dispute for the control of the South Asian seas.

The drill involved the nuclear-powered aircraft carriers Ronald Reagan and John C. Stennis, 12,000 sailors, 140 aircraft and six battleships, a few days from the judgment that an international court is preparing to issue about the Chinese claims on the disputed sea stretches. The message is clear: the US does not intend to leave field to the Chinese opponent and regional allies, from the Philippines, will not be left alone in the face of Beijing’s pressures.

The American ships began to carry out air defense, maritime surveillance and long-range attack maneuvers, showcasing their firepower not far from the disputed waters, in which China continues its constructive activities of artificial atolls for civilian and military purposes.

The intent of the drills, in the formal language of the navy information bulletins, would be to promote the freedom of navigation and overflight in the waters and on the skies of the area. The statements that come from commands better clarify the purpose of the drill: ” (This) has been a great opportunity for us to train on how we would operate multiple Carrier Strike Sroups in a contested environment” explained Admiral John Alexander .

By Philippine, military mobilization is the clear demonstration that the US is determined to give credence to their ” ironclad commitment”, reiterated on several occasions, in favor Asian ally. ” e welcome the strong cooperation and partnership we have with our friends and allies … in light of (the dispute) where our legitimate rights have been overstepped” said Peter Galvez, spokesman of the Philippine Department of Defense.

The reference is to the decision, expected in a few weeks, in which the Court of Permanent Arbitration of The Hague will speak about the legitimacy of the Beijing claims on the the South China Sea waters, one of the most important navigable areas of the world, from economic and strategic points of view, on which also overlook Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan and on which the interests of China, US and Japan gather.

The ruling will likely be favorable to the Philippines, which addressed to the international court to counter Chinese expansion. China, for its part, has decided to ignore the court, to which does not recognize any jurisdiction over the matter, and did not take part in the proceedings.


Luca Marchesini


South China Sea: big dispute for its control

Asia @en di

The main players in this story are four: China, the Philippines, the US and Japan. The stakes are enormous: the control of the waters of the South China Sea, at the crossroads of the interests of the powers involved.


For months now, the US is engaged in a verbal escalation with China. Beijing, in fact, does not hide his expansionist aims on the portion of ocean that flow through its southern coasts and it is building artificial islands to move forward to a few tens of kilometers the limits of its territorial waters. A forced widening of the borders that is putting in turmoil Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia as well, since they advance their own claims on that same sea segment.

China has repeatedly asked the US not to exacerbate the mood flying over the artificial islands with its aircrafts and bringing the ships of its fleet to sail near their coasts. The United States has responded sharply, appealing to international maritime law, and securing to its regional allies the cooperation of the US Navy for the control of Chinese positions.

It should be borne in mind that, in this area of ​​the world, water control and the ability to put a national flag on even very small portions of landmass is not just a symbolic goal. In fact, the patrolling of certain maritime communications, through the construction of military bases, gives the direct control of shipping trade and access roads to economic and strategic fundamental resources. The control of an isolated rock or a stretch of reef may have serious repercussions in terms of economic growth and political stability.

For China is, first and foremost, a matter of regional sovereignty, with inevitable global repercussions. For the United States, the main concern is represented by the freedom of navigation in the Pacific rim, where the US has built its own supremacy, after the end of the Cold War, with the help of regional allies, primarily Japan and South Korea. However, China is now questioning this assumption, emerging as a new power in the South China Sea and making explicit its hegemonic ambitions over the area. A redefinition of the balances that Washington sees as a serious problem.

Supremacy on the water has always been a fundamental element of American global strategy. Control over the seas, assured by the military supremacy of the US Navy, guarantees fast and secure trade routes for goods going to or coming from US ports and allows to quickly move large amounts of troops in case of need, even at a great distance. But these same necessities have now become vital for China, a global power whose economy is increasingly focused on export and therefore require more control over maritime trade routes, especially in the South China Sea, rich in fishery resources and natural gas. China is therefore trying to reshape the status quo, taking advantage of the weakness of regional adversaries, unable to cope with the Asian giant on the military level, and the uncertainties of American rival, who seems unwilling to use the force of weapons to contain its expansionist ambitions.

However, the Chinese construction activities in the middle of Southern Sea provoked the strong irritation of the Southeast Asia neighbors, primary the Philippines who claim sovereignty over many of the small islands cemented by the Chinese construction activities. China, however, think that is possible to control the countries of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, acting directly on the organization at the political level and operating its economic and military levers against the single states involved. Beijing also trust to be able to manage the reactions of Washington, in the belief that the US will avoid any escalation, fearing a direct conflict in the waters of the South China Sea. The facts, so far, proved China is right.

It remains to understand what is the position of Japan within this puzzle. The power of the Rising Sun is perhaps the only opponent that China really fears, right now. For the first time in decades, Japan seems determined to take a more active role in the Pacific and the South China Sea. Tokyo recently has signed new agreements with Manila and other ASEAN countries to conduct joint operations and to facilitate the supply of its fleet and its aircrafts. In return, he offered to the Philippines and Vietnam ships and aircrafts for the Navy and the Coast Guard. Japan has also reached an agreement with the US to carry out joint patrol operations in the South China Sea, starting next year.

Why this new activism? Japan is an island, with few natural resources. Tokyo must therefore necessarily safeguard its own interests on the seas, to ensure the subsistence of the Japanese economy, and it has realized that the new Chinese expansionism is a threat that can not remain unanswered.

From the point of view of Beijing, the new policy of Tokyo is a serious problem, especially if Japan acts in synergy with the United States for the creation of a joint force in the South China Sea. The answer for now is diplomatic. Through various channels, Beijing is trying to persuade Washington not to engage in the side of Japan, suggesting that Tokyo would be pursuing only its own interests in the area. Looking ahead, China also suggest that the conflict could lead to a possible military escalation with the Philippines, supported by Japan, for of the disputed islands control. A scenario that would oblige the US to make a difficult choice: whether or not to intervene on the side of its ally, with all the military and political consequences that the decision would generate.


Luca Marchesini


Luca Marchesini
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