When historians write a chapter on the current state of diplomatic relations between world leaders - one chapter is sure to be dedicated to the common hero that Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un and ...
• My favorite hero is Putin, Philippines president says
• Trump has repeatedly praised Putin over the course of his campaign
• North Korean dictator sent friendly message to Putin on anniversary of Japan war
When historians write a chapter on the current state of diplomatic relations between world leaders - one chapter is sure to be dedicated to the common hero that Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un and Rodrigo Duterte share - Vladimir Putin.
The unlikely alliance has emerged, as though in the shadows, before it was thrown wide open during the course of the current U.S. Presidential elections.
With ties between Russia and the United States declining to their lowest level since the Cold War, the Russian dictator seems intent on a resurgence of Russia's status as a superpower and a key player in world affairs, in addition to splitting the Western powers - both within Europe and across the trans-Atlantic alliance with the United States.
Russia-North Korea on better terms than ever before
The Russian president seems to be on better terms than ever before with North Korea's reclusive leader Kim Jong Un, who is in the crosshairs of the United States and its close ally South Korea over its nuclear weapons program.
This week, a North Korean press statement highlighted the "deepened" relationship between the two countries.
“The two countries have strengthened the bonds of friendship, closely cooperating with each other in the political, economic, cultural and various other fields on the principle of independence, equality and mutual benefit," the statement read.
The North Korean dictator had earlier sent a friendly message to Putin, expressing his desire for greater relations between the two countries on the North's 71st anniversary of the allied defeat of Japan in Korea during the closing months of World War II, according to Pyonyang’s state news agency.
“I express belief that the relations of friendship and cooperation between the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and Russia forged in the hard struggle against the common enemy would invariably develop in line with the aspiration and desire of the peoples of the two countries,” Kim wrote.
Putin reportedly sent a congratulatory message to Kim to mark the "occasion of Liberation Day," but it was unconfirmed whether the message was sent in response to Kim's missive.
During the Soviet era, Moscow backed the North Korean regime. Since then the relationship declined, but Putin now seems to be keen on getting the relationship back on track. At a business forum in Russia's Pacific port of Vladivostok attended by South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Putin said Moscow favored bringing North Korea back to international negotiations over its nuclear program.
Philippines president calls Putin his "favorite hero"
Philippines President Duterte, who has since assuming office in June this year, made several hostile comments against the United States and U.S. President Barack Obama, has called the Russian president his favorite hero.
Duterte was asked who her preferred as U.S. president – Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.
The Philippines president declined to answer, saying, “I cannot gamble an answer. Because either way it would affect, you know, they might create a hostility here, antagonism here. So I am better off in saying that my favorite hero is Putin,” he said in answer to a reporter’s question upon his arrival from China at the international airport in Davao City.
In August, he said he was looking forward to meeting the Russian leader because they had a lot of similarities, including possibly “when it comes to girls.”
Duterte is seeking stronger ties with Russia and China.
During his visit to China, he had said, “Maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to (President Vladimir) Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world — China, Philippines, and Russia. It's the only way.”
During the visit, the volatile president also announced his "separation" from the United States, however, later clarifying that he is not severing diplomatic ties with the country’s longtime ally.
Trump's "bromance" with Putin
Allegations of Russian involvement in the U.S. presidential election have never before been so pronounced.
Trump has praised Putin on several occasions, even proclaiming him a better leader than President Obama.
“I would get along with Putin,” he said, prompting Putin to call Trump “a very lively man, talented without doubt,” whom he could “get along with” as well," he noted.
During the presidential debate, Trump was called a "puppet" of Putin by Hillary Clinton, who is clearly not so generous in her praise of the Russian president.
In August this year, in an interview - Trump claimed that Russia isn't going to take military action in Ukraine - despite having already done so. "He's not going into Ukraine, okay, just so you understand. He's not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want."
The Russian government is also reportedly involved in multiple cyberattacks on the Hillary Clinton campaign, a charge Trump refuses to support.
However, Trump's embrace of Putin could backfire since it has alienated a critical voting bloc he needs to win the White House — Americans of Eastern European descent, who despise the Russian president.
Throughout his campaign, Trump has vacillated on nearly every position, with the notable exception of his consistent praise for Putin. But, taking a cue from his running mate, he recently appeared to tone it down slightly saying he’s not quite sure what kind of relationship he would have with the Russian president. "I don't love [Putin], I don't hate. We'll see how it works. We'll see," Trump had said at a campaign stop in Nevada. "Maybe we’ll have a good relationship. Maybe we’ll have a horrible relationship. Maybe we’ll have a relationship right in the middle," he stated.
Putin-Xi maintain warm ties over cold ice-cream
The warm relationship between Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping continued during the recently-held Brics summit in Goa, India.
Recent months have witnessed greater security cooperation between Russia and China as they find common ground against the United States.
In June this year, Putin made his fourth trip to China since Xi Jinping became president in 2013, and the two leader stressed their shared outlook which mirrors the countries’ converging trade, investment and geopolitical interests.
In recent months, the two countries have signed several crucial deals on trade, energy and defense, while pledging to preserve the strategic balance of power among nations.
The relationship is so strong that at a bilateral meeting in Hangzhou - the Russian President brought a box of Russian ice-cream as a gift to Jinping who went gaga over the gesture.