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International relations

Putin to visit Philippines, in win for Duterte diplomacy

Russian leader throws hat into battle for influence in hot spot region

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, is accompanied by Russian President Vladimir Putin upon his arrival at the Polyana 1389 Hotel in Sochi for their bilateral meeting on Oct. 3. (Photo courtesy of the Philippine President's Office)

MANILA -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to make his first visit to the Philippines, providing a big boost to President Rodrigo Duterte's efforts to diversify diplomatic ties and add another option for cooperation on top of the U.S. and China.

Putin accepted Duterte's invitation during the Philippine leader's state visit to Russia in early October, according to Moscow's ambassador to Manila Igor Khovaev, who said over the weekend that "we will do our best to arrange this visit as soon as possible."

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