MANILA, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Russia intended to set up a gun-manufacturing company in the Philippines, Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Igor Khovaev said here on Tuesday.
Already, Khovaev said Moscow and Manila were exploring specific opportunities for "a joint production of sophisticated arms and small weapons" in the Philippines. "We already started working on that," he told reporters during a press briefing.
"We are ready to organize a joint production of sophisticated arms and small weapons here in the Philippines. You Filipinos will produce Russian arms and weapons. There will be Philippine products with Russian technology," Khovaev added.
If the deal pushes through, Khovaev said the Philippines would be an exporter of advanced small arms and light weapons for the first time in its history.
Khovaev, however, did not identify the specific types of firearms that Russia wants to produce in the Philippines.
Khovaev hoped the joint arms production would materialize soon. "Both sides are committed to open new horizons of our defense cooperation, and one of these horizons is the joint production, joint manufacturing of arms and weapons on Philippine soil," he added.
The relations between the Philippines and Russia have been invigorated under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte who chose to pursue an independent foreign policy.
Early this month Duterte visited Russia for the second time, which diplomats said is an indication of Manila's "long-term commitment to really engage" Moscow.
The Philippines has bared its plans to purchase military helicopters and other military equipment from Russia.
Although no deal was signed during Duterte's visit to Russia early this month, Khovaev said Philippine and Russian officials are "actively working" on the Philippines' desire to buy the helicopters.
Apart from aircraft, the ambassador said Russia is ready to supply its sophisticated technologies to help the Philippines develop its own defense industry.
"We want to build a long-term strategic cooperation (with the Philippines). We want to be a reliable partner for many, many years," he said.