March 21, 2023
Japan PM Kishida visits Ukraine for talks with Zelenskyy
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrived in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Tuesday in a surprise visit to the Eastern European country to hold talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ahead of a G-7 summit that Tokyo will host in May.
The visit, which had been kept secret until right before arrival, comes a day after Kishida met with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, in New Delhi. It is rare for a Japanese leader to make an unannounced trip to a foreign nation.
Kishida had been the sole G-7 leader yet to visit Ukraine after Russia’s invasion of its neighbor in February 2022. Japan holds this year’s G-7 presidency.
After holding talks with Modi on Monday, Kishida entered Ukraine through Poland. The Japanese government did not announce his trip to Kyiv in advance for security reasons but later confirmed the planned visit following media reports.
After arriving in Kyiv, Kishida visited Bucha….
Kishida told reporters in Bucha that Japan “will continue to make the utmost efforts to support Ukraine to restore peace.”
The two leaders are also likely to agree to work together to maintain the international order based on the rule of law….
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Tuesday criticized Kishida, saying at a press conference that the international community should accelerate peace talks and create conditions for a political settlement of the conflict in Ukraine.
China hopes Japan will “do more to help de-escalate the situation instead of the opposite,” Wang said.
U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, however, said in a Twitter post that Kishida is “making a historic visit to Ukraine to protect the Ukrainian people and promote the universal values enshrined in the U.N. Charter.”
Meanwhile, relations between Japan and Russia have been deteriorating as Tokyo has joined other G-7 members in imposing punitive economic sanctions on Moscow over its aggression against Ukraine.
Zelenskyy had invited Kishida to visit his country. On Feb. 24, the president participated in a G-7 online summit at Kishida’s request on the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Kishida is willing to invite Zelenskyy to the G-7 summit in Hiroshima.
Kishida is slated to revisit Poland on Wednesday before returning to Tokyo on Thursday morning, a government official said.
March 21, 2023
Japan PM Kishida arrives in Kyiv for talks with Zelenskyy
Trip demonstrates commitment to war-torn country, foreign ministry says
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Tuesday, Japan’s foreign ministry said.
Footage captured by Japan’s Nippon Television showed Kishida boarding a train at a station in Przemysl, a city in southeastern Poland on the border with Ukraine, at around 9:30 a.m. Japan time….
“During his visit to Ukraine, Prime Minister Kishida will pay tribute to the courage and perseverance of the Ukrainian people who, under the leadership of President Zelenskyy, have stood up to defend their homeland,” the ministry said in a statement.
Kishida will also “firmly reject Russia’s aggression and unilateral change of the status quo by force and reaffirm our determination to defend the international order based on the rule of law,” the ministry said.
It is rare for a Japanese prime minister to visit an active conflict zone. The other G-7 leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden, had already visited Ukraine, leaving Kishida alone in not making the trip.
“Today, the news tells of two very different European-Pacific partnerships,” U.S. ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said in a post on Twitter, referring to the Japan-Ukraine and China-Russia meetings. “Among these two Pacific leaders visiting Europe, Prime Minister Kishida stands with freedom, and Xi stands with a war criminal. Which Pacific leader is the right partner for a brighter future?”