Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrived in Kyiv for a surprise visit Tuesday, hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in neighboring Russia on a three-day trip. Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine will be in the spotlight at both meetings.
Footage shown on Japanese national broadcaster NHK showed Kishida walking on the platform of Kyiv Central Station, escorted by a few people who appeared to be Ukrainian officials. The Ukrainian capital has not felt the brunt of the war, which has become bogged down eastern Ukraine.
It was uncertain whether either of the Asian leaders’ visits to Kyiv and Moscow would change the course of the almost 13-month war in Ukraine, but the talks about 800 kilometers (500 miles) apart highlighted the war’s repercussions for international diplomacy as countries line up behind rival parties.
The meetings came after a week in which China and Japan both enjoyed diplomatic successes that have emboldened their foreign policy.
Kishida, who is to chair the Group of Seven summit in May, will meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Ukrainian capital, coinciding with Xi’s talks with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
Other details of Kishida’s visit were kept under wraps, though he was also due in Poland to meet with President Andrzej Duda before returning to Tokyo on Thursday morning.
Kishida will “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,” during his visit to Ukraine, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said in announcing his trip to Kyiv.
At the talks, Kishida will show his “absolute rejection of Russia’s one-sided change to the status quo by invasion and force, and to affirm his commitment to defend the rules-based international order,” the ministry’s statement said.
Putin warmly welcomed Xi to the Kremlin on Monday, starting a three-day visit the two major powers described as an opportunity to deepen their “no-limits friendship.”
At a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Tuesday, Xi said that he invited Putin to visit China at some point this year to attend a top-level meeting of China’s One Belt, One Road regional initiative, which seeks to extend Beijing’s influence through economic cooperation projects.
The invitation comes days after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin, staining his international reputation. Neither Russia nor China recognize the court’s jurisdiction. Nor do the United States or Ukraine.
Moscow and Beijing have both weathered international condemnation of their human rights record. The Chinese government has been widely condemned for alleged atrocities against Uighur Muslims in its far western Xinjiang region. The allegations include genocide, forced sterilization and the mass detention of nearly 1 million Uighurs. Beijing has denied the allegations.
( Source AP)