MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Former Philippine UN envoy Ambassador Lauro Baja Jr. has warned of a possible Asian replication of what is happening in Ukraine at the online “The Alphan Forum” of the University of the Philippines (UP) Alpha Phi Beta Fraternity.
In a report by ABS-CBN News, Baja said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will have a significant impact not just in Europe but in Asia as well, emphasizing how a power country may also invade a minor one.
“What the Philippines should do is to watch out for two possible developments. 1, the possibility of China thinking of a similar operation vis-a-vis Taiwan and vis-a-vis the West Philippine Sea. and 2, a scrutiny, watch out on current US’ so-called pivot to Asia,” said Baja.
“What happened in Ukraine will give them the opportunity or the chance or whatever to do the same in Taiwan. That will be more existential for us, considering the geographical proximity and the number of Filipinos there,” he further stated.
Several political analysts also said at the forum that the crisis in Ukraine will prolong as it is also shifting and strengthening alliances and relationships of nations.
Prof. Benjamin Muego said: “What is happening in the Ukraine now is in some ways reminiscent to what happened in Afghanistan from 1979-1989.”
“This conflict in Ukraine is far from over. This will continue,” he added.
While Prof. Temario Rivera said: “Kung walang immediate diplomatic solution o politically-negotiated solution itong Ukranian crisis, it will really strengthen alignments, you have the US, NATO, and the EU against possibly also a stronger alliance between Russia and China.”
Baja, who was also a former president of the UN Security Council, said the Philippines should not be neutral in global issues.
“Neutrality, non-alignment is going out of fashion. I would advise we don’t fence sit on important political and economic issues. Develop our own national strength and take a position,” Baja said.
Prof. Bobby Tuazon stated that one of the diplomatic options available to parties to avoid further conflict is to implement a ceasefire to pave the way for peace talks.
He also wants Russia’s troops to leave Ukraine immediately, as well as the lifting of economic sanctions imposed on Russia.
The Philippines is one of the countries that has condemned Ukraine’s invasion.
This article was originally published on ABS-CBN News.