Opening Asia for Russia

30.12.2018 56 просмотров

Interview with Carlos Sorret, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of the Philippines to the Russian Federation. Alexander Lebedev, General Director of the TV channel and the Big Asia website, is talking to the Ambassador.


Carlos Sorreta:

Welcome to the embassy!

Alexander Lebedev: 

We are you met within the framework of Eastern Economic Forum. You had, perhaps, the brightest speech at the section of the APEC countries. You said that all countries need to work harder on their image. I would just suggest starting our conversation with what, in your opinion, the role played by the media in shaping the image of countries and strengthening relations between them.





Carlos Sorreta:

Thank you very much. The media has a very significant role in shaping international relations, especially when it comes to -eksklyuzivnoe-intervyu-telekanalu-bolshaya-az/">Philippines and Russia, because relations between these two countries are just being formed. The media play a very important role. Therefore, I am always very happy to meet with such important media organizations as yours, I always try to convey to the Philippine media the importance of Russia in our foreign policy.

Alexander Lebedev: 

You said that the Filipinos know little about Russia and we need to talk more about ourselves. Maybe after the Russians know more about the Philippines, they will be more willing to go on vacation to the Philippines, business will develop?

Carlos Sorreta:
< br> Yes, definitely, many Filipinos have the wrong idea about Russia just from the media, and many from Hollywood movies. Therefore, it is very important to show the real Russia. This is Russia, which is ready to work with the countries of Southeast Asia and develop cooperation in business, economics and culture. And Russia really has a lot to share with the countries of my region.

Alexander Lebedev: 

What level do you think are Russian-Philippine relations now? What has already been done and what still needs to be done? After all, basically, this is your job – to shape Russian-Philippine relations and bring them to a higher level.

Philippines Ambassador and Putin.jpg

Carlos Sorreta:

First of all, to show how our relations have improved, I want to note that over the past 2 years we have signed more agreements than in the previous four decades of interaction. And these agreements form an important basis for further developing our relations. We have agreements in the field of agriculture and tourism that were signed last year when our President was on a visit to Russia. Recently there was a visit of a high-level delegation in the field of agriculture, meetings were held with representatives of Russian business. We believe that Russia and the Philippines can complement each other by cooperating in this area. 

Philippines Manila Market.jpg

Manila Market. Photo from the site: https://turbina.ru
I also believe that we could cooperate in the field of agricultural technology. Russia is a potential supplier of modern agricultural equipment that the Philippines needs. Tourism is one of the biggest problems so far. Many tourists from Russia visit Southeast Asia, more than 2 million tourists come to rest in these countries. But only about 35,000 of them traveled to the Philippines last year. So we intend to actively promote holidays in the Philippines among Russians.  I know that Russians love to travel, and we have many beautiful tourist places.

Alexander Lebedev: 

…more than seven thousand magnificent islands …

Carlos Sorreta:

Yes.

Alexander Lebedev: 

The TV channel "Big Asia" and our website "Big Asia" are, perhaps, the only resources in Russia that systematically talk about Russia's cooperation with Asian countries, and these are 49 countries. And we would very much like our viewers to know not only about Russian-Philippine relations, but also about the Republic of the Philippines itself. Please tell our viewers about your country! We have a separate page on the site where we make news, publications dedicated to the Philippines, but this is clearly not enough. Let's start the transition to a new quality with our interview with you today. What would you like our viewers to hear about the Philippines?

Philippines Boracay.jpg

Boracay Island. Photo from the site: https://wikiway.com



Carlos Sorreta:

Thank you. Today, the Philippines provides many unique tourist attractions that have already attracted a number of Russians. For example, there are programs where you can also learn a language at a resort. We also organize a number of diving tours and many Russians have already had this incredible experience at some of the best dive sites in the Philippines. We are teaching Russian to more and more of our guides. And our Philippine Airlines is working closely with Aeroflot, promoting the Philippines as a destination. And something completely unique: several groups of Russians fly to the Philippines to learn Filipino martial arts like kali and arnis. So we have a lot of offers for Russian tourists.

Alexander Lebedev: 

We know that the Government was forced to close the island of Boracay, bring it to a more comfortable condition, and now it is open for tourists again. 

Carlos Sorreta:

This is a very important point, thank you very much. We believe that tourism should meet the standards of modern development. We open the tourist parts of the island, but nature must be protected. And such a policy has become a success story for the island of Boracay. Now that the island is open, we hope that significantly more Russians will come there. Boracay is now much cleaner and safer and less busy. Everything that is there is of a very high level. Resorts can only start operations if they are ready to show that they can meet all the requirements of sustainable tourism. I invite Russians to visit Boracay, but they will have to book tours in advance. Some of the best Russian-speaking guides work on Boracay. In many restaurants you can find menus in Russian. And when you come on vacation with kids, many resorts offer babysitting service. 

Although Boracay is one of the main islands, we also have many other resorts on the islands. As you said, we have over 7 thousand islands, you can imagine how many beaches we have. We offer every kind of water sports imaginable. For example, if you want to lie on the beach under the sun and have a cold drink, or you want to go to the mountains and ski, we have it all in the Philippines, and you will enjoy such entertainment a lot.

Philippines Boracay 4.jpg
Image from website: https://wikiway.com < br>
Alexander Lebedev: 

Tourism is, of course, very important, but in bilateral relations there is also industry, agriculture, there is great diplomacy. You once spoke about the construction of a nuclear power plant and the possibility of doing it together with specialists from Russia. What is the current status of this project?

Carlos Sorreta:

The Philippine economy is growing and we are building the infrastructure to keep that growth going. The Philippines will need more sources of electricity. The authorities of our countries, together with Rosatom, have already discussed the possibilities that nuclear energy can provide. The Rosatom team visited the Philippines, they studied the old nuclear power plant. Another option is modern power plants of a smaller format. And Rosatom is also helping us to collect more information in the Philippines about the benefits of nuclear energy, especially in connection with climate change.

Alexander Lebedev: 

… including relocatable nuclear power plants. Now there are already new technologies when it is possible to make floating nuclear power plants.

Carlos Sorreta:

Yes, we also discussed with Rosatom and other companies, associated with atomic energy, interaction, for example, in nuclear medicine. From the point of view of what is called the radiation treatment of tropical fruits.

Alexander Lebedev: 

Russia is moving very confidently into Southeast Asia, to East. What infrastructure projects are currently being developed between Russia and the Republic of the Philippines?

Carlos Sorreta:

Everything is under discussion because we have just started trying to understand the needs and capabilities of each party. About a year and a half ago, discussions began, which are still at an early stage. These are possible projects in the field of transportation, in the field of construction of railways and bridges, since Russia is very good at building bridges and also producing steel. We see this as an opportunity for collaboration. The possibility of building a natural gas processing plant was discussed. And what is really very interesting, we had negotiations with Roskosmos on joint work on our Philippine satellites. 

As for atomic energy, we are grateful to Russia, as it has offered several scholarships to our engineers and physicists to receive in-depth knowledge in atomic science. So over the past two years, we've had a lot of joint projects in the works. 

Philippines Souvenirs.jpg
Photo from the site: omniworld.ru

Alexander Lebedev: 
When Russia says that it will intensify relations with Asian countries, one of the main obstacles is transport and logistics obstacles, because it is very difficult to build a Eurasian corridor. Colleagues from the PRC have activated the theme “One Belt, One Road”, the Silk Road, and I know that the Philippines is an active participant in this project. Can you talk about how you cooperate with the PRC?

Carlos Sorreta:

With regard to the construction of the track, China's initiative, we believe that this is a very important initiative and we are studying it very carefully, because such a big project can change a lot in the field of global and regional trade. 

KAMAZ and GAZ trucks appeared. So even with the challenges of logistics, we can see that if our business people really want to cooperate, they will find ways.

Philippines Shirts.jpg

Philippine men's Barong Tagalog shirts made from pineapple fibre. Photo from the site: omniworld.ru



Alexander Lebedev: 

Russia offers a very serious, already supported Yugo - East Asia project of the Northern Sea Route, when the movement through the north reduces the cost and speeds up the delivery of goods, that is, when the transport and logistics route will go from Southeast Asia to Murmansk, the Kola Peninsula. This movement across the coast of the Arctic Ocean. How do you feel about this initiative?

Carlos Sorreta:

The Northern Sea Route? We haven't worked on this project yet. But we had to overcome a number of logistical problems, as we already supply some Philippine products here in Russia, via St. Petersburg.

Alexander Lebedev: 

Through St. Petersburg? And what route do ships take to St. Petersburg? 

Carlos Sorreta:

If they go from the Philippines through the East, they pass through The Panama Canal, if they go through the West, then through the Suez Canal. The product we deliver is "7d" dried mango, which is growing in popularity in the Philippines. We also import our coconut products - coconut sugar and coconut flour. A very good company "My new food" imports. The Russians strive to be healthy and they really like these products. 

Shipping from the Philippines to St. Petersburg by sea takes 32-45 days. But we are also considering the possibility, I spoke about this at the Eastern Economic Forum, of using Vladivostok as a port of entry to the market of the eastern part of Russia, as well as shipping by rail from Vladivostok to Moscow. In the context of logistics, there are Russian companies that want to deliver fresh mangoes from the Philippines, which are the best in the world, I'm sure of it. They want to deliver mangoes by air, by plane, by commercial trucking. And as I understand it, there are Russian businessmen who want to export Russian meat products to the Philippines. 

So both sides are facing difficulties in logistics, and together we can solve this problem. And we are already conducting an examination of our fishing industry - Russia is checking our fisheries, and our authorities are checking Russian meat products. We are also ready to supply our Philippine tuna to Russia. I think this is a very good start because we will learn to deal with challenges like the ones you mentioned. This requires funding. I think that if we can start, then we can start more active processes in the economic sphere.

 Philippines Boracay 1.jpg

Photo from site: https://wikiway.com



Alexander Lebedev: 

We were here recently at the presentation of product lines that you want to supply to Russia. In addition to mango, fresh juice, tuna, what else would the Filipinos want to supply to the Russian market within the framework of agricultural cooperation? What products do you have that we don't?  The market is quite competitive - there is competition for both mango and tuna. And what more competitive products could the Filipinos supply to our market?

Carlos Sorreta:

Our textile industry, a highly industrialized industry, is still only are developing. So we export processed agricultural products. We also export some factory-made products made from natural materials. We hope to export fashion accessories, fittings and jewelry, semi-precious and costume jewelry. 

There is another export area we are working on… As we know, Russians have very good taste in alcohol. And now we are trying to organize the supply of world famous brands of Philippine drinks and beer. Our tradition in the production of spirits is over 200 years old and our spirits are appreciated all over the world. I mean Philippine rum and beer. For example, Philippine rum is based on Philippine sugar, so it is 100% Philippine product.

Alexander Lebedev: 

I heard that you have an idea to hold a culinary festival in Moscow. Can you talk about it?

Carlos Sorreta:

That's a great question! I believe that it is very important to show the Russians and let them taste our products. Perhaps we will arrange one reception for tasting spirits and beer, and the second will be devoted to our coffee, tea and fruit drinks. I plan to bring many of these products so that the Russians can taste them themselves. 

When we start shipping our fish products, we plan to have a separate reception where the Russians can taste Philippine fish and we can celebrate the first import to Russia. 

We want to dedicate one more reception to our folk crafts, including the production of pearls. Now we are planning many events of this kind, where the Russians will be able to try and see examples of Filipino food and Filipino products, because the photos do not convey the full picture. 

And the media can help us a lot in this matter, including In addition, we will invite you and other journalists and bloggers who write about food and drink. We hope that you will join us as we present to the Russians what we can supply from our country. The Philippines has 110 million people, which means there is a great need for food. And we have businessmen who came to Russia for wheat to import to the Philippines.

Philippines Accessories .jpg

Philippine pearl products. Photo from the site: omniworld.ru



Alexander Lebedev: 

I want to return to the issues of culinary festivals. The Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of the Philippines said that he had a chef friend who had 5 Michelin stars. And he would like to bring him to Moscow to get acquainted with Philippine cuisine here. When will this visit take place? We are already looking forward to it!.. Big Asia TV channel will cover this festival with great pleasure and will be an information partner.

Carlos Sorreta:

We are currently working on it. In order to bring a chef to Russia, as well as Philippine products that he will need, we must conclude a number of agreements. As soon as we do this, we will definitely invite you to come and taste the prepared dishes. We have a lot of very good chefs in the Philippines, and they will certainly be able to show authentic Filipino cuisine when we bring them here to Russia. Perhaps this will happen in the spring.

Alexander Lebedev: 

We are talking about increasing trade turnover, about stimulating trade. But in order to buy goods in Russia, you need to know not only the goods, you need to know the country, because trust is formed through an understanding of culture and traditions. Here's what we can do together with you so that the people of our country get to know the Philippines better? And then, maybe, they will buy better goods and more people will go on vacation to your beautiful islands.

Carlos Sorreta:

You absolutely right - we should promote the Philippines as a country. Not only economic or tourist aspects, but also the cultural component. This year we have come to grips with cultural diplomacy. We were very happy that we were able to show the culture of the Philippines this year. The group of artists was led by a prima ballerina who studied in Kirov 20 years ago. She was here this year. We also brought the main theater, which presented the Filipino play. Several experts came and lectured at universities and here at the embassy on various aspects of Filipino culture. We have brought Filipino books for the universities, as well as Filipino films to be shown to the public at film festivals and universities. Also in our embassy we work with those Filipinos who live in Russia. We have created a group that represents Philippine culture in Russia. Artists perform national dances, and there is also a chorale group that performs Filipino songs.

Philippines Boracay 2. jpg

Photo from website: < i>https://wikiway.com



Alexander Lebedev: 
< br> Yesterday we met with Igor Abylgaziev, Director of the Institute of Asian and African Studies at Moscow State University, and he, knowing that we would meet and talk with you today, invited youto give a lecture to ISAA students . This is the most specialized institution. How do you look at such a proposal?

Carlos Sorreta:

I think this is a very important opportunity. Every time we are asked to give a lecture, we always agree. Not only in universities, but also in high and elementary schools. Just these days, our employee will talk about the Philippines in one of the schools. We try to tell more about the Philippines to the most diverse segments of the Russian population. 

Alexander Lebedev: 

We have an idea to hold a competition for the best publication about the Philippines and make this competition open, hold it together with the embassy. And the main prize could be a trip to the island of Boracay.

Carlos Sorreta:

This is a very good idea. We already have similar press tours to the Philippines for travel journalists. We send them in groups, as part of the tour, journalists can see the whole country, including Boracay. They spend their time learning about various aspects of tourism in the Philippines. They come back and write about it. There is even a group of journalists who are going to the Philippines in the next couple of weeks. But your idea is good. We will take everyone we can take because we want to expose the Philippines to the mainstream Russian media. 

 Philippines Animal.jpg

The Philippine tarsier is one of the smallest primates in the world. Photo from the site: https://wikiway.com

Alexander Lebedev: 

You are talking about the professional activities of journalists, this is very important. But all over the world people love contests, quizzes, lotteries. And what we offer is focused on a wide range, including our viewers, our website users.

Carlos Sorreta:

Oh, good!

Alexander Lebedev: 

< i> …that is, our audience, when forming loyalty to a particular region, to a particular country, will in the future be better off buying the products of this country, with great pleasure traveling to this country. Therefore, we propose to hold a competition for a wide audience. And when they write something, they will have to collect information about the Philippines. Thus, both the circle of people and the level of knowledge of your country will expand. One of the prizes can be a box of excellent dried mangoes from 7d, which are shipped to Russia. 

Carlos Sorreta:

Your audience will be write an essay about the Philippines and the winner gets a prize? That's a good idea!  We will definitely consider this idea. 

F Manila 1.jpg

Philippines, Manila. Photo from the site: https://wikiway.com 


Alexander Lebedev : 

Recently, we have completed the creation of a series of 8 programs about the attractiveness of Moscow in English and Russian. This idea was born just after your speech at the Eastern Economic Forum. English is one of the official languages of the Republic of the Philippines, so we will be happy to provide you with these films. We hope that they will be of interest to residents of the Republic of the Philippines, and they will also learn more about Moscow. All foreigners who live in Moscow note that in recent years Moscow has become more comfortable for living and doing business.

Carlos Sorreta:

It's true, Moscow is a beautiful city.

Alexander Lebedev: 

What do you like about Moscow?

Carlos Sorreta:

I think it's architecture. It is beautiful - from churches to buildings like the Kremlin. All of them are really beautiful both in winter and in summer. The architecture reflects the rich history and culture of the Russian people. The next thing is, of course, food.

Alexander Lebedev: 

What do you like about Russian cuisine?

Carlos Sorreta:

You know, I love meat and really appreciate good meat. Russian beef for steaks is getting better. And today it can compete with the best steaks in the world.

Alexander Lebedev: 

What do you prefer for meat? Meat is probably not combined with rum, but with some other drinks in Russia?

Carlos Sorreta:

I don't drink that much , but Russian beef… I was very impressed with how much quality it has become in recent years. It is comparable to the steaks that are cooked in the USA, Australia, even in South America. Russian beef is very tasty. Maybe a little vodka to improve digestion. Nothing compares to Russian vodka, it's the best.

Alexander Lebedev: 

Thank you for this conversation. I hope that today we are opening a new page in relations between the media in Russia and the media in the Republic of the Philippines. We would be very happy to join you in launching a Filipino Media Festival in Moscow.

Carlos Sorreta:

Thank you very much. I really intend to work seriously with Russian media. This is the best way to talk about the strengthening of relations between our countries. One thing that surprised me when I arrived in Russia was the sheer amount of media. There are so many news channels here, radio stations are active, as well as social networks. It creates such a lively atmosphere for information. Thank you very much.

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Carlos Sorreta and Alexander Lebedev. Photo by the TV channel "Big Asia"


Alexander Lebedev: 

We started our conversation with the fact that American cinema paints a not very interesting image of Russia in the Philippines. It is probably much more difficult to improve American cinema than to hold a good Russian film festival in major cities of the Republic of the Philippines. I think that cultural initiatives of this level could also help strengthen our relations and friendship, trust and understanding between peoples.

Carlos Sorreta:

This week just passed the Russian film festival in the Philippines. Within the framework of the festival, several films were shown, including "Battle for Sevastopol". People who have seen this film were very impressed with the quality of the filming. They were quite surprised, many of them saw Russian cinema for the first time and they said that it is quite comparable to any other films they have seen. The quality, acting, directing - all this is absolutely excellent.

Alexander Lebedev: 

You see, it turns out that we are moving in the right direction. Thank you so much for this conversation! See you on our TV channel in new programs. 

Carlos Sorreta:

Thank you very much.
< br> Philippines Manila.jpg

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