Sun. Jun 4th, 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 persistence of the Ukrainian people who find themselves standing as much as defend their homeland beneath President Zelenskyy’s management, and present solidarity and unwavering help for Ukraine as head of Japan and chairman of G-7,” throughout his go to to Ukraine, the Japanese International Ministry mentioned 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 drive, and to affirm his dedication to defend the rules-based worldwide order,” the ministry’s assertion mentioned.

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

Learn Extra: Xi Jinping’s Go to to Russia Isn’t Actually About Bringing Peace to Ukraine

Japanese public tv channel NTV confirmed Kishida driving a prepare 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 boost their voices to defend the rules-based worldwide order and assist cease Russia’s struggle.

Japan, which has territorial disputes over islands with each China and Russia, is especially involved in regards to 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 beneath strain to take action at dwelling. U.S. President Joe Biden took an analogous route to go to Kyiv final month, simply earlier than the primary anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Resulting from limitations of Japan’s pacifist structure, his journey was organized secretly. Kishida is Japan’s first postwar chief to enter a struggle 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 doable journey on the finish of March, denied it and mentioned nothing concrete has been determined.

Japan has joined the USA and European nations in sanctioning Russia over its invasion and offering humanitarian and financial help for Ukraine.

Japan was fast to react as a result of it fears the doable impression of a struggle 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 mentioned that Beijing’s contacts with Russia will assist to result in peace. “President Putin mentioned that Russia appreciates China’s constant place of upholding equity, objectivity and stability on main worldwide points,” he mentioned. “Russia has fastidiously studied China’s place paper on the political settlement of the Ukrainian problem, and is open to peace talks.”

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

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

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

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

Resulting from its pacifist ideas, Japan’s help for Ukraine has additionally been restricted to non-combative army tools resembling helmets, bulletproof vests and drones, and humanitarian provides together with turbines.

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

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

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