PHNOM PENH, Cambodia—Ukraine will establish an embassy in the Philippines as its top diplomat sees the country as an important player in the Asian region.
In an exclusive interview with Manila Bulletin, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he picked the Philippines from the shortlist of countries in which Ukraine wants to expand its diplomatic presence.
“When I became a foreign minister, I asked my team to develop the Asian strategy for Ukraine because we never had one,” Kuleba said after a series of meetings he had with his foreign counterparts at the sidelines of the 40th and 41st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits here.
He said he is interested in securing the support for the Philippines in the United Nations, in particular, during the voting in the UN general assembly and other bodies.
“It is also important to have Philippines too as a friend to communicate political messages here in Asia because Philippines is an important regional player,” he added.
Kuleba met with Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo on Nov. 10 to discuss plans to have its own embassy in the country.
The Ukrainian foreign minister said the establishment of its embassy “depends on both countries,” but both sides “are willing to go forward.”
“We both agreed that the Philippines and Ukraine shared the will to move forward and we both used the same phrase: when there is a will, there is a way,” he said.
“So, I wouldn’t set any deadlines, but I would like to go forward as fast as the Philippines is ready to do it,” he added.
Kuleba said Ukraine is eyeing ties with the Philippines on trade, people to people exchanges, digitalization of economy and pharmacy.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is a campaigner of digital economy.
Kuleba said they are ready to prioritize trade wheat and grain “with our friends.”
“But there are many more things we can do. For example, Ukraine is one of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of digitizing its economy and government services and we have some products, which can make the life of the people of the Philippines more comfortable and convenient,” he said.
“We also have a big capacity in pharmacy and this is something that according to our analysis, [the] Philippines would be interested in. So, I would call on, to avoid the simplification of how trade potential,” he added.