MANILA, PHILIPPINES — President Rodrigo R. Duterte stated on Tuesday that he is avoiding taking a confrontational stance on the Russia-Ukraine situation because doing so would endanger the country.
Duterte stated during a campaign rally for his ruling party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), in Cainta, Rizal, that he preferred a “friendly” approach because the Philippines may be targeted if the Russia-Ukraine conflict evolves into a nuclear war.
“Kung lumaki ang gera between Russia and Ukraine, pag sumabog ito, naging nuclear, medyo delikado na tayo, ‘Pag nagputok ang isang, alam mo tatamaan talaga tayo,” Duterte said.
(We are at risk if the conflict between Russia and Ukraine evolves into a nuclear war. We will be hit.)
“Bakit ako nakipagkaibigan, tutal ang Amerika nandito na rin, kung may gera tatamaan talaga tayo because nandito ang Amerikano at marami silang armas dito,” he added.
(Why did I make friends, after all, America is here as well, and if there is a conflict, we will be badly affected because the Americans are here with large weapons.)
Duterte said he had been telling Chinese President Xi Jinping that the Philippines and China had no dispute during a PDP-Laban campaign rally.
But in the event that China provides military backing to Russia during the latter’s invasion of Ukraine, Duterte warned that the Philippines, along with Taiwan, could be “hit.”
He said that it would likely happen since US forces are utilizing Philippine bases and facilities.
As sanctions on Russian political and economic figures grew and civilians sought to flee severe fighting on the ground, the US warned China against providing military or financial assistance to Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine.
Senior US authorities claim they have not detected overt Chinese military and economic help two months after issuing a warning, a welcome outcome in the tense US-China relationship.
In April, Duterte and Xi shared deep worry about the Russia-Ukraine situation, hoping for a peaceful settlement between the two countries. – WhatALife!