Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Leaders from China and Japan visit enemy capitals during the Ukrainian war

Japan, China leaders visit rival capitals in Ukraine war

 KYIV: A surprise visit to Ukraine by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida began early on Tuesday, just hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Russia for a three-day visit. The rivals, who have been at odds for a long time, are currently on a diplomatic offensive.

In the capital of Ukraine, Kishida will meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

During his visit to Ukraine, the Japanese Foreign Ministry stated that he would "show respect to the courage and patience of the Ukrainian people who are standing up to defend their homeland under President Zelenskyy's leadership, and show solidarity and unwavering support for Ukraine as head of Japan and chairman of G-7."

According to the ministry's statement, Kishida will demonstrate his "absolute rejection of Russia's one-sided change to the status quo by invasion and force" at the talks. He will also "assert his commitment to defend the rules-based international order," the statement added.

Xi's visit to the Kremlin, which both countries describe as an opportunity to deepen their "no-limits friendship," was warmly received by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

NTV, a Japanese public television channel, showed Kishida traveling to Kyiv by train from Poland. His unexpected trip to Ukraine comes just hours after a meeting in New Delhi with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a week after a breakthrough summit with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yoel.

Kishida urged developing and Global South nations to speak up in New Delhi to support the rules-based international order and aid in stopping Russia's war.

Japan is particularly concerned about the close relationship between Beijing and Moscow, which has conducted joint military exercises close to Japan's coasts. Japan has territorial disputes with both China and Russia over islands.

The only G-7 leader who hasn't visited Ukraine is Kishida, who will chair the Group of Seven summit in May. He was pressured to do so at home. In order to pay a visit to Kyiv last month, just before the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, US President Joe Biden took a similar route.

His trip was secretly planned because of restrictions imposed by Japan's pacifist constitution. Japan's first postwar leader to enter a war zone is Kishida. Kishida was invited to Kyiv by Zelenskyy in January. Prior to his trip to India, he was also asked about a rumor that he might go there at the end of March. He denied it and said that nothing concrete has been decided.

Japan has joined the European Union and the United States in imposing sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and supporting the country's economy and humanitarian efforts.

Japan acted quickly because it was concerned about the consequences of a war in East Asia, where China's military has become more assertive and has heightened tensions regarding Taiwan, which Beijing claims to be its territory.

When he meets with Zelenskyy, it is anticipated that Kishida will continue to support Ukraine.

NTV footage showed Kishida and a number of officials boarding a train from the Polish station of Przemysl near the Ukrainian border.

Japan's support for Ukraine has also been limited to humanitarian supplies like generators and non-combative military equipment like helmets, bulletproof vests, and drones because of its pacifist values.

In a country known for its stringent immigration policy, Japan has contributed more than $7 billion to Ukraine and helped more than 2,000 displaced Ukrainians by providing housing assistance, support for jobs, and educational assistance.

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