Crimea issue is like PH dispute with China
MANILA, Philippines – Embroiled in its own territorial row with China, the Philippines on Wednesday, March 26, said it is “studying” a draft United Nations (UN) resolution on the dispute between Ukraine and Russia over Crimea.
The draft resolution seeks to reject the referendum that made Crimea a part of Russia. It also “affirms Ukraine's territorial integrity, political independence, unity, and sovereignty,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose explained.
The UN will vote on this on Thursday, March 27.
It's an issue that hits close to home, Jose said in a media briefing Wednesday.
When asked why the Philippines finds the Crimea issue important, Jose said, “Because we are advocating the same principles, the rule of law, peaceful settlement of disputes, territorial integrity, so these are the same principles that we are advocating with regard to the West Philippine Sea issue.”
The dispute over Crimea erupted as the Philippines prepares to submit its memorial, or written pleading, against China over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). (READ: PH readies 'convincing evidence' vs China)
Manila's 'point of view'
Unlike in the West Philippine Sea dispute, however, the Philippines took no hardline position.
In a statement, the DFA said it is not taking sides on the Ukraine-Russia dispute, at least not yet. But – in the same words it uses against China – the DFA said it adopts the point of view “of protecting the territorial integrity of a state.”
Earlier, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said the “better part of prudence,” after all, “dictates that we must leave for the moment the question of whether we shall recognize Crimea.” (READ: Miriam: PH should be neutral on Crimea)
In any case, the DFA said, “The Philippines remains deeply concerned with developments in Crimea and hopes for a diplomatic solution.”
The Southeast Asian country also “takes note” of UN General Assembly Resolution 3314, which defines aggression.
It says aggression is “the use of armed force by a state against the sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence of another state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations, as set out in this definition.”
PH: 'Maximum restraint'
Citing Resolution 3314, the Philippines “calls for maximum restraint to be shown by all parties.”
“We support actions toward de-escalating tensions in the region and for comprehensive, inclusive and peaceful dialogue and reconciliation, with full respect for the rule of law, to be pursued by all parties,” the DFA said.
Up to 198 Filipinos live in Ukraine.
These statements came after Crimea voted overwhelmingly to join Russia on March 16.
The United States and Europe announced sanctions in relation to this. The White House said the measures, the toughest against Russia since the Cold War, would target economic power brokers in Moscow if the Kremlin does not change course. – with reports from Agence France-Presse/Rappler.com