President Rodrigo Duterte finally met his idol Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Lima, Peru.
When Duterte walked into the meeting room, Putin and his ministers were already there. A smiling Putin extended his hand to shake Duterte's hand. After exchanging pleasantries during their long handshake, Putin invited Duterte to take a seat.
President Duterte, who had long expressed admiration for Putin’s strongman rule, talked about his distrust toward the United States and other Western countries.
“I have been looking for this moment to meet you, Mr. President, not only because you represent your country but [because] of your leadership, too,” the Philippine president told Putin, who formally extended an invitation to Mr. Duterte to visit Russia during their exchange.
In the part of the bilateral meeting, President Duterte told Putin about the 'hypocrisy' of the West in intervening in the affairs of other countries on illegal drugs.
"Of late, I see a lot of these Western nations bullying the small nations. And not only that, they are into so much hypocrisy. They seem to start a war but afraid to go to war." Duterte said.
"That's what's wrong with America and the others. Waging war in so many places, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and in Iraq and – for one simple reason there was a weapon of mass destruction, and there was none." he added.
The Russian was all-smiles at first but his expression turned serious when President Duterte began speaking. An interpreter was at his side to translate the exchange.
Putin personally congratulated Duterte on winning the presidential election, and expressed his hope for the diplomatic ties with the Philippines to flourish.