Manila, Feb 15 (EFE).- The Philippine government said it gave its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty Wednesday after a first call between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his counterpart Ferdinand Marcos Jr., whose country had been neutral on the war until now.
“President Zelenskyy thanked President Marcos for the Philippines’ support for Ukrainian sovereignty and his clear position in the conflict,” the Philippine Foreign Ministry published about the conversation between the two leaders Monday.
Zelenskyy said he celebrated “the support of the Philippines for the territorial integrity of Ukraine” and added that both leaders discussed a “deeper future cooperation,” after the “first call in the history of bilateral relations.”
Marcos Jr., whose father ruled the Philippines as a dictator, also praised on his Twitter account “the courage and nationalism of the Ukrainians,” and said he expressed his “admiration” for the Ukrainian people.
Although the Philippines voted last year in favor of condemning the invasion and against Russia’s annexation of several territories in eastern Ukraine in separate United Nations resolutions, the country’s position in the conflict had not yet been fully defined.
Doubts grew after a Ukrainian diplomat last month complained that Marcos Jr. had so far ignored several requests for a phone call from Zelenskyy.
Support for Ukraine occurs in the midst of a shift in the Philippine foreign policy toward the West, after Marcos Jr. came to power in June, after the turbulent six-year term of former President Rodrigo Duterte, who strengthened ties with China, Russia’s geopolitical ally.
Marcos Jr., surprised experts by strengthening his position with the US since coming to power.
Two weeks ago, Manila and Washington made a defense agreement that guarantees American troops access to four new military bases in Philippine “strategic” areas, which China considered “aggravates tensions in Asia.” EFE