Zelenskyy’s Manila Visit is a Big Joke

Statement of the ILPS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s unscheduled visit to meet with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. last June 3 is a big joke.  The TV comedian turned politician Zelenskyy has been known for his ultra-nationalist and fascist crackdown on Russians in Ukraine.  He now met a former dictator’s son.  One is embroiled in a losing US-NATO proxy war against Russia.  The other is embroiled in a fast-developing US-China tension over the South China Sea. Their meeting, however, is far from amusing.

Zelenskyy has also made an unscheduled visit at the 21st Shangri-La defense summit in Singapore where Marcos delivered a keynote address over the weekend. Zelenskyy is desperately trying to scrounge for support as the US-NATO war against Russia is coming short on manpower, ammunition and air defense despite the $175-biilion aid from the US and the €32 billion in EU military support for Ukraine.  The summer counter-offensive by Ukraine last year did not regain any ground. The U.S. plan to overthrow Russian President Putin miserably failed. After two years, the war has already claimed more than 60,000 military casualties and 10,000 civilian casualties.  Ukraine’s economy and peoples’ livelihood are devastated. Russia, on the other hand, has shown resilience despite punitive sanctions. Public support for the war in Ukraine is dwindling this election year and global attention is shifting towards Israel’s aggression on the Palestinian people.

Asia’s premier defense summit came just a week after China held massive military drills around Taiwan, staging a simulated blockade of the island. It came after the inauguration of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)  presidential victory of Lai Ching-te who is pursuing Taiwan independence from China. Meanwhile, U.S. and China defense officials met at the sidelines of the Singapore conference to restore military communications disrupted in 2022.

Zelenskyy is now urging Asian leaders to attend a Swiss-organized peace summit on the war in Ukraine this month. He accused China of helping Russia to undermine the peace conference by pressuring other countries not to attend.

Meanwhile the U.S. is deepening its ties with an emerging regional group with Australia, Japan and the Philippines that Pentagon officials have nicknamed, the “Squad”.  This is in addition to the “Quad” comprised of the U.S., Australia, India and Japan and the “Aukus,” a defense pact of Australia, the U.K. and the U.S.. Washington recently approved roughly $61 billion for Ukraine, $26 billion for Israel and $8 billion for allies in the Indo-Pacific.

President Marcos approved qadditional military facilities for the U.S. under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Five military sites were initially identified in 2016: Antonio Bautista Air Base in Puerto Princesa, Palawan; Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao; Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga; Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija; and Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu. In 2022, The US agreed to spend $66.5 million to accelerate construction projects at the five military bases. The following year, during the U.S.-Philippine 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in Washington, the U.S. announced to allocate an additional $18 million on top of $82 million it said had allocated toward infrastructure investments at the EDCA sites.

Four more sites were added by Marcos in 2023 — Balabac Island in Palawan; Naval Base Camilo Osias in Santa Ana, Cagayan province; Lal-lo Airport in Cagayan; and Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela. Naval Base Camilo Osias in northern Luzon is located only 500 kilometers (310 miles) from Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s third-largest city. Further south, Balabac Island is close to the disputed Mischief Reef, an atoll where China has built an artificial island with military facilities.

During the visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Manila in March 2024, the Philippines described the alliance to be in “hyperdrive”.  There have been concerns about Chinese espionage and the military dual-use and control of critical infrastructure and purchasing of real estate in strategic areas near the South China Sea such as in Zambales and Palawan. There are also influence operations in areas such as offshore gaming, the national power grid, telecommunications, media as well as in local government units with the recent investigations into a local mayor in Bamban, Tarlac a mere 14-minute drive to Clark air base in Pampanga.

The Zelenskyy-Marcos war-mongering vaudeville is made in the U.S.A and it is for the peace-loving peoples to expose and oppose their farce of “peace, stability and progress”.  U.S. imperalism must be primarily held into account for the wars in Ukraine, the Middle East and now in Asia.

Ultimately, the people’s global resistance against imperalism, plunder and wars is building up momentum to gain national and social liberation and thoroughly dismantle the world monopoly capitalist system for a new social order in the interest of all working peoples.


Signed by:

Len Cooper

ILPS Chairperson

5 June, 2024

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