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Philippine ties with Moscow likely to remain warm amid Putin trial at ICC
THE PHILIPPINES would probably keep steady relations with Russia despite an order for the arrest of President Vladimir Putin by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, according to political analysts.
“The diplomatic ties would continue and the energy partnership with Moscow should be sustained to pump prime the local economy,”Chester B. Cabalza, founding president of Manila-based International Development and Security Cooperation, said in a Facebook Messenger chat.
He likened their relations to Philippine-china economic ties, which have remained solid despite their sea dispute. Still, Philippine-Russia ties could be limited by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s foreign policy sway toward the United States, Mr. Cabalza said.
“Although Moscow has minimal economic ties with Manila except with the robust arms deal and proposed oil exploration in the contested South China Sea, the Philippines’ current sway of its foreign policy towards Washington will slow down its commitment to engage further with Russia,” he said.
Mr. Marcos last year said his government was open to purchasing oil and fertilizer from Russia, as the Philippines struggled with high energy prices.
Russia sells a variety of products to the Philippines ranging from oil and gas to fertilizers and automotive parts, with the main exported items being semi-finished iron, crude petroleum and wheat, according to the Russia briefing of Dezan Shira & Associates.
In 2020, Russian exports to the Philippines hit $576 million, according to data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity website.
Unlike his predecessor, Mr. Marcos is less attracted to Russia, leaning closer to its rival, the United States “as evidenced by the expanded Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, proposed joint patrols in the South China Sea and large-scale military exercises,” Lucio B. Pitlo III, a research fellow at the Asia-Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation, said in a Messenger chat.
The conflict in Ukraine could eat up more of Russia’s time and resources, “constraining its outreach in far off countries like the Philippines.”
“His previous tendency to not take forceful stances on the invasion of Ukraine doesn’t really suggest he’ll do anything more unless he and his advisers find it necessary to placate American counterparts.”
Hansley A. Juliano, a political economy researcher studying at Nagoya University’s Graduate School of International Development, said talks with Russia last year were mainly based on the Philippines’ need for fuel and did not necessarily signify alignment with Mr. Putin. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza