Russia, China, Japan, and Ukraine Compete For Attention
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
MOSCOW/KYIV/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – As war raged in Ukraine on Tuesday, the Ukrainian, Chinese, Russian, and Japanese leaders competed for world attention.
In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, agreed on “an enduring” economic partnership. They also pledged to bring more Russian energy to China and more Chinese companies to Russia.
The economic pledges, trumpeted by the leaders on the second day of Xi’s state visit to Moscow, came as both leaders sought to limit the impact of Western sanctions and other consequences of the war in Ukraine.
As the two leaders met Tuesday, Japan’s prime minister, Fumio Kishida, toured Kyiv to show support in his first visit since Russia’s invasion began in February last year.
It was a significant change for Japan. The country had drawn a clear line on the war and joined with other Group of Seven (G7) nations to impose sanctions on Russia and provide billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine.
But on Tuesday, Kishida offered strong support to Ukraine and invited its President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to take part in the G7 summit in mid-May. Zelenskiy agreed to participate in the meeting via video link.
“Japan will support Ukraine until peace is restored,” Kishida said Tuesday at a news press conference with Zelenskiy in Kyiv.
Back in Moscow, neither Putin nor Xi made any reference on Tuesday to military assistance, focusing instead on economic cooperation.
Though Ukraine’s Western allies have warned that Beijing may provide Moscow with arms for its invasion, the Chinese government has described Xi’s trip as a peace mission.
The Russian-Chinese talks followed Beijing’s release of a 12-point plan for a political solution to the war. But the noncommittal comments from the two leaders on Tuesday suggested that there had been no breakthrough.
Instead, the joint statement issued by Xi and Putin suggested that Western powers were an obstacle to peace by forming security blocs.
“Russia reaffirmed that it was committed to restarting peace talks as soon as possible, and China expressed its approval,” said the excerpt from the joint statement issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. “Settlement of the Ukraine crisis must respect the reasonable security concerns of every country and prevent the formation of confrontational blocs that fuel the flames.”
The White House made a sharp rebuttal to the joint statement, accusing China of “parroting” Russian propaganda and saying Beijing could do far more if it genuinely wanted to broker peace.
“If China wants to play a constructive role in this conflict, then it ought to press Russia to pull troops out of Ukraine,” John F. Kirby, a U.S. national security spokesman, told reporters.
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