Duterte ‘looking forward’ to meeting Putin in Laos

Pia Ranada
Duterte ‘looking forward’ to meeting Putin in Laos
'We're similar,' says President Rodrigo Duterte, when asked why he is excited to meet the Russian leader at the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summit and related Summits

MANILA, Philippines – Of all President Rodrigo Duterte’s upcoming bilateral meetings with world leaders in Laos, his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin is the one he looks forward to the most.

“That I look forward to. Mas gusto ko si Putin (I like Putin more),” said Duterte on Wednesday, August 31, on the sidelines of his event with overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2.


Asked why he was excited to meet the Russian leader, Duterte said, “Pareho kami eh (We’re similar).”

At first, he was coy about revealing why he thought Putin and he shared certain traits.

But as he pulled away from reporters, Duterte, with a mischievous grin, said, “Baka sa girls (Maybe when it comes to girls).”

Foreign media have drawn comparisons between Duterte and Putin, two leaders who both project strongman leadership styles and express strong anti-American sentiment.

International news group CNN, lumping together Duterte, Putin, and US presidential candidate Donald Trump in an article, described them all as embodiments of “blunt, fiercely macho leadership.” 

Duterte will meet for the first time with Putin and other country leaders at the 28th and 29th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and related Summits in Vientiane, Laos, from September 6 to 8.

He is also expected to have bilateral meetings with US President Barack Obama, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The related Summits in Vientiane include the 19th ASEAN-China Summit, 19th ASEAN-Japan Summit, 18th ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit, 19th ASEAN Plus 3 Summit, First ASEAN-Australia Summit, 8th ASEAN-UN Summit, 14th ASEAN-India Summit, 4th ASEAN-United States of America Summit, and the 11th East Asia Summit. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.