Ukrainian President Zelenskyy visits Manila to advocate for peace summit, citing China and Russia’s attempts to undermine it

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a meeting with his Filipino counterpart, Ferdinand Marcos Jr, on Monday. Zelenskyy made a rare trip to the Philippines with the purpose of urging regional leaders to participate in a global peace summit organized by Switzerland. The summit aims to address the ongoing war in Ukraine, which Zelenskyy alleges that Russia, with the support of China, is attempting to undermine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy embarked on a rare Asian trip to meet with the Philippine president on Monday. During their meeting, Zelenskyy urged regional leaders to participate in a global peace summit on the war in Ukraine. He accused Russia, with the assistance of China, of attempting to undermine the peace efforts. The summit, organized by Switzerland, aims to address the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

President Zelenskyy made a surprise visit to Manila on Sunday, accompanied by tight security measures. His arrival in the Philippines came after his participation in the Shangri-La defense forum in Singapore. Upon landing, he was greeted with a grand reception at the presidential palace, complete with military honors. Following this, he held a meeting with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. before departing from the country.

According to Philippine Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil, Marcos made a commitment that his country would participate in the peace summit.

Zelenskyy expressed his happiness upon receiving Marcos’ confirmation to participate in their peace initiatives. He regarded it as a powerful signal.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy emphasized the importance of having a greater number of mental health professionals available to support soldiers. In response, Marcos expressed his commitment to assist and applauded Ukraine’s plans to establish an embassy in Manila this year, which would facilitate the delivery of aid more efficiently.

Marcos stated that their efforts have been focused on promoting the ongoing adherence to international law in their region. He emphasized that the challenges they face are comparable to those faced by others, and as a result, the Philippines always takes a stance that advocates for peace.

Both leaders at the Singapore forum expressed their concerns about China. The forum brought together top defense and government officials from around the world, including representatives from Washington and Beijing. The discussions took place against the backdrop of ongoing conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine, as well as the escalating rivalry between the United States and China for influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

During a news conference in Singapore on Sunday, Zelenskyy boldly accused China of actively assisting Russia in sabotaging the peace summit organized by Switzerland. He alleged that China exerted pressure on other nations, discouraging their participation in the summit.

According to the speaker, Russia is actively using Chinese influence in the region and involving Chinese diplomats to disrupt the peace summit. He expresses his concern about China, a powerful and independent country, being manipulated by Russian leader Vladimir Putin. However, he does not provide any further details regarding this matter.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning denied the allegation, stating that their position is open and transparent, and there is no intention of pressuring other countries.

China maintains a neutral stance on the war, which sets it apart from Ukraine, the U.S., and most of Europe. Its trade with Russia has expanded, mitigating the economic consequences of Western sanctions. While China is not directly supplying arms to Russia, American, Ukrainian, and other intelligence agencies have identified indications of Chinese components being used in Russian weaponry.

China’s attendance at the peace conference in mid-June, which Switzerland had been hopeful for, seems unlikely, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning on Friday.

During the security forum, Zelenskyy emphasized the importance of the participation of top defense officials in the talks held in Switzerland. He expressed his disappointment over the failure of certain countries to commit to attending. Zelenskyy highlighted that Ukraine has valuable proposals to put forth at the summit, serving as a foundation for peace. These proposals encompass various areas such as nuclear security, food security, the release of prisoners of war, and the repatriation of Ukrainian children who were abducted by Russia.

According to him, Ukraine is prepared to listen to different suggestions and ideas that can bring about an end to the war and establish a lasting and fair peace.

During the conference, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had a meeting with Zelenskyy and reaffirmed the United States’ support for Ukraine. In his speech at the forum on Saturday, Austin emphasized that “Putin’s war of aggression has given us a glimpse of a world that none of us would desire.”

In a bold statement at the defense forum, Marcos highlighted the potential consequences of the ongoing tensions between his country and China in the South China Sea. Expressing concern, Marcos emphasized that if any deliberate action were to lead to the loss of a Filipino life in the conflicts at sea, it would be considered dangerously close to an act of war.

Marcos responded to a question by saying, “That would definitely boost the response rate.”

“Despite ongoing violations of our sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdictions through illegal, coercive, aggressive, and deceptive actions, we remain steadfast in our commitment to peacefully resolve the disputes,” Marcos expressed. While not explicitly naming China, his statement alluded to the consistent challenges faced by the Philippines.

During the forum, Austin emphasized the unwavering commitment of the United States to the Philippines as a treaty ally. He described this commitment as “ironclad.” Austin also highlighted the significance of engaging in dialogue with China.

He stated that there are various possibilities that can occur at sea or in the air, acknowledging the unpredictable nature of these environments. However, he emphasized that their objective is to prevent situations from escalating unnecessarily.

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MBS Staff
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