Japanese PM shows ‘solidarity’ with Ukraine during visit that coincides with Chinese leader’s trip to Moscow.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is on his way to Kiev by train for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on a trip that coincides with a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow.
During his visit, Kishida will “show respect for the courage and patience of the Ukrainian people who stand up to defend their homeland under the leadership of President Zelenskyy, and show solidarity and unwavering support to Ukraine as the head of Japan and chairman of the G -7”. to Ukraine, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday announcing the trip.
Japanese broadcaster NHK showed images of Kishida boarding a train to Kiev in the Polish border town of Przemysl.
Kishida will demonstrate its “absolute rejection of Russia’s unilateral alteration of the status quo through invasion and violence, and reaffirm its commitment to defending the rules-based international order,” the ministry’s statement said.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping, meanwhile, is in Moscow, where he was warmly welcomed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday. The two men held informal talks for four and a half hours and will meet for formal talks on Tuesday.
Xi has put forward China’s 12-point proposal to end the war in Ukraine, which is likely to dominate talks. There are reports that he will have a video call with Zelenskyy after the meeting in Moscow.
Kishida, who will chair the G7 summit in May, is the only leader of the group who has not visited Ukraine and was under pressure to do so at home.
In January, Kishida said the G7 summit, to be held in Hiroshima, should demonstrate a strong will to uphold international order and rule of law after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Due to the restrictions of Japan’s pacifist constitution, the prime minister’s trip was organized in secret.
The visit comes just hours after Kishida met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, India.
Japan has joined the United States and many European countries in sanctioning Russia for its invasion and providing humanitarian and economic support to Ukraine, in part because of its concern over the situation in East Asia, where China has become increasingly assertive in recent years. has become.
Japan has contributed more than $7 billion to Ukraine and has taken in more than 2,000 Ukrainian refugees – a rare move for a country known for its strict immigration policies.
In September, the prime minister told the United Nations General Assembly that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “should never be tolerated” because it violates the principles and philosophies of the UN Charter.
He also expressed his disappointment at the lack of action by the UN Security Council.
Russia and China are both permanent members of the council with veto power. Japan is not a member and has long sought reform.