EU leaders visit Ukraine, pledge firm support…US secures 4 additional military bases in Philippines

‘Global Village Today’ presents big news from different countries around the world.

Host) What news do you have today?

Reporter) Yes. European Union (EU) leaders visited Ukraine and pledged unwavering support from the EU. The United States has secured licenses for four military bases in the Philippines.

Host) Global Village Today, here is the first news. European leaders found Ukraine?

Reporter) Yes. A delegation from the European Commission, including the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Josef Borrell, visited the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, on the 2nd. This is Chairman von der Leyen’s fourth visit to Kjw after the start of the war in Ukraine. Chairman Von der Leyen said on Twitter: “I’m happy to be back at Kiu, this time with my colleagues from the Executive Committee.”

Moderator) Why did EU leaders visit Kiwu?

Reporter) Yes. The next day, on the 3rd, there will be a summit between the EU and Ukraine. It arrived the day before this. “We are here to show that the EU will always stand with Ukraine unwaveringly,” Von der Leyen tweeted after arriving in Kiu. He also emphasized that he would further strengthen the EU’s support and cooperation through this visit.

Moderator) Can we hear from the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josef Borrell?

Reporter) Yes. Borrell tweeted that he had come to Kiev to deliver a strong message from the EU to all Ukrainians fighting for their country. Borrell also said that the EU has provided funding of 50 billion euros (US$55 billion) since the war began on February 24 last year. We will work together,” he stressed.

Moderator) What is expected as the main agenda of the summit between the two sides?

Reporter) As can be seen from the comments of EU leaders arriving, it is expected that military and humanitarian aid measures for Ukraine will be dealt with. It is also expected that the issue of Ukraine joining the EU will be discussed in more detail at the summit.

Host) Does Ukraine want to join the EU?

Reporter) Yes. Ukraine officially applied for EU membership on February 28, four days after the Russian invasion last year. In four months, he gained the status of a state candidate. It usually takes several years to obtain candidate state status. In June last year, 27 EU member states unanimously granted candidate status to Ukraine under the executive recommendation of the EU executive, including Chairman von der Leyen.

Moderator) But aren’t there other difficult obstacles left before becoming an official member?

Reporter) That’s right. It is also necessary to check whether Ukraine has the will and ability to accept and implement EU law. As a result, Ukraine needs to make efforts to the rule of law, justice, and the elimination of corruption in accordance with the necessary standards for joining in terms of judicial, administrative and economic aspects. Even after passing all these steps, it can take several years to become a full member, as individual confirmation is required from each member of parliament.

Cynnal) But not long ago, suspicions of corruption arose among high-ranking officials in Ukraine.

Reporter) Yes. At the end of last month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky replaced 10 senior officials, including the deputy defense minister and governors of five provinces, who were accused of corruption. The vice minister of defense and the deputy head of the presidential office were in the form of resignation. On the 1st, Ukrainian authorities also conducted a house investigation on oligarchs (emerging conglomerates) and former interior ministers. It is interpreted as the will of the Ukrainian government to eliminate corruption with EU membership in mind.

Host) Another Ukrainian civilian casualty from Russian missile attack?

Reporter) Yes. On the night of the 1st, a Russian missile fell on an apartment complex in Kramatorsk, eastern Donetsk region, killing at least three people and injuring around 20 others. Local police authorities said on social media, “At 9:45 pm on the 1st, a Russian military Iskandar-K cruise missile hit an apartment complex, damaging at least eight buildings, one of which was completely destroyed.” he said. Last month, a Russian missile hit an apartment building in eastern Dnipro, killing at least 44 people.

Host) What did Russia say?

Correspondent) Russia often attacks apartment buildings, causing civilian casualties, but has always denied that it does not target residential buildings. We are also silent about this attack. President Zelensky lamented in a video address on the night of the 1st, “This is the reality we are facing.” Meanwhile, on the 1st, the US Treasury Department charged 22 individuals and organizations, including Mr. Igor Zimenkov, an arms dealer active in Russia and Cyprus, for supplying high-tech equipment to companies owned by r state in Russia and defense contractors, including Mr. Zimenkov and his son additional sanctions.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (right) inspects the guard of honor upon arrival at the Aguinaldo Military Base in Quezon City, Manila, Philippines on the 2nd.

Host) Global Village Today, this time we will go to the Philippines. Are the United States and the Philippines expanding military cooperation?

Reporter) Yes. The Secretary of Defense of the United States, Lloyd Austin, visited the Philippines on the 2nd. After meeting with the Philippine Secretary of Defense, Carlito Galvez, he held a joint press conference and announced that an agreement had been reached between the two countries to add four military bases that the US military could use in the Philippines. The two ministers said that this measure is part of the “Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA)” between the two countries.

Moderator) How many existing military bases in the Philippines can US forces go to?

Reporter) Currently, there are 5 locations. According to EDCA, the US military has been rotating troops to four air bases and one army base in the Philippines. It was agreed to add 4 this time, bringing the total to 9.

Moderator) Then where is the new military base?

Reporter) The two ministers did not mention the location of the new military base in the press conference. In addition, the joint statement did not specifically state. But last year, a former Philippine Armed Forces chief said the US had requested base access to the northern Philippine island of Luzon, which is closest to Taiwan, and the island of Palawan, close to the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. circle

Moderator) Do all regions belong to China?

Reporter) Yes. Luzon Island is only 200 miles (about 320 km) from Taiwan, making it theoretically an easy place to deploy American troops in case of an emergency. Based on the Taiwan Relations Act enacted in 1979, the US government provides a means for Taiwan to defend itself, but maintains ‘strategic ambiguity’ by not clarifying whether or not to intervene directly in the event of an armed attack by China . However, US President Joe Biden has stated several times that China could intervene militarily in the event of an unprecedented attack on Taiwan.

Moderator) On the other hand, the Spratly Islands are in the waters where China and the Philippines have territorial disputes, right?

Reporter) That’s right. It is an archipelago of about 70 reefs in the southern part of the South China Sea. In China, it is called ‘Nansha Qundo’. China is believed to have turned at least three reefs into de facto military bases. Currently, China claims about 90% of the South China Sea as its territory. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei also clash over claiming sovereignty.

Host) Let’s listen to more announcements from the United States and the Philippines.

Reporter) Yes. In a joint statement, the two countries explained that “the addition of these new EDCA regions will enable faster assistance to climate-related disasters and humanitarian situations in the Philippines, and will respond to other common challenges.” In addition, the United States plans to invest 82 million dollars to improve the infrastructure of five military bases that are currently in operation.

Moderator) What is the content of the EDCA, or the ‘Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement’, signed by the two countries?

Reporter) US forces are allowed access to Philippine military bases for joint US-Philippines military exercises, to pre-position equipment, to use runways and fuel depots, and to build facilities such as military housing. However, permanent presence is not permitted. The Philippine Constitution prohibits the permanent presence of foreign troops and participation in hostilities.

Moderator) Anyway, with the new government in the Philippines, do you see signs of improving relations with the United States?

Reporter) Yes. Former President Rodrigo Duterte took a pro-China move by openly revealing anti-American sentiment. However, President Ferdinand Marcos, who took office in June last year, seems to be balancing the interests of his country and balancing the United States and China. In a meeting with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on the 2nd, President Marcos emphasized that “the future of the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific region must always include the United States based on strong partnerships.”

Moderator) Yes. Global Village Today, I will listen to this.

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