Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

KYIV, Ukraine — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida started a shock go to to Ukraine early Tuesday, hours after Chinese language President Xi Jinping arrived in neighboring Russia for a three-day go to. The dueling summits come because the longtime rivals are on diplomatic offensives.

Kishida will meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy within the Ukrainian capital.

He’ll “present respect to the braveness and endurance of the Ukrainian people who find themselves standing as much as defend their homeland underneath President Zelenskyy’s management, and present solidarity and unwavering assist for Ukraine as head of Japan and chairman of G-7,” throughout his go to to Ukraine, the Japanese International Ministry stated in asserting his journey to Kyiv.

On the talks, Kishida will present his “absolute rejection of Russia’s one-sided change to the established order by invasion and power, and to affirm his dedication to defend the rules-based worldwide order,” the ministry’s assertion stated.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warmly welcomed Xi to the Kremlin on a go to each nations describe as a chance to deepen their “no-limits friendship.”

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Japanese public tv channel NTV confirmed Kishida using a practice from Poland heading to Kyiv. His shock journey to Ukraine comes simply hours after he met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, and the week after a breakthrough summit with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yoel.

In New Delhi, Kishida referred to as for growing and World South nations to lift their voices to defend the rules-based worldwide order and assist cease Russia’s conflict.

Japan, which has territorial disputes over islands with each China and Russia, is especially involved concerning the shut relationship between Beijing and Moscow, which have carried out joint army workouts close to Japan’s coasts.

Kishida, who’s to chair the Group of Seven summit in Might, is the one G-7 chief who hasn’t visited Ukraine and was underneath strain to take action at dwelling. U.S. President Joe Biden took the same route to go to Kyiv final month, simply earlier than the primary anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

As a consequence of limitations of Japan’s pacifist structure, his journey was organized secretly. Kishida is Japan’s first postwar chief to enter a conflict zone. Kishida, invited by Zelenskyy in January to go to Kyiv, was additionally requested earlier than his journey to India a couple of rumor of his attainable journey on the finish of March, denied it and stated nothing concrete has been determined.

Japan has joined america and European nations in sanctioning Russia over its invasion and offering humanitarian and financial assist for Ukraine.

Japan was fast to react as a result of it fears the attainable impression of a conflict in East Asia, the place China’s army has grown more and more assertive and has escalated tensions round self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory.

In Beijing, international ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin stated that Beijing’s contacts with Russia will assist to result in peace. “President Putin stated that Russia appreciates China’s constant place of upholding equity, objectivity and steadiness on main worldwide points,” he stated. “Russia has fastidiously studied China’s place paper on the political settlement of the Ukrainian situation, and is open to peace talks.”

Learn Extra: Why China, Russia’s Largest Backer, Now Says It Needs to Dealer Peace in Ukraine

Requested about Kishida’s journey to Kyiv, he added, “We hope Japan might do extra issues to deescalate the scenario as an alternative of the other.”

Kishida is predicted to supply persevering with assist for Ukraine when he meets with Zelenskyy.

Tv footage on NTV confirmed Kishida getting on a practice from the Polish station of Przemysl close to the border with Ukraine, with quite a few officers.

As a consequence of its pacifist ideas, Japan’s assist for Ukraine has additionally been restricted to non-combative army tools reminiscent of helmets, bulletproof vests and drones, and humanitarian provides together with mills.

Japan has contributed greater than $7 billion to Ukraine, and accepted greater than 2,000 displaced Ukrainians and helped them with housing help and assist for jobs and training, a uncommon transfer in a rustic that’s identified for its strict immigration coverage.

—AP reporter Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

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