Japanese and Chinese leaders visit opposing capitals in Ukraine war

The schedules of Japanese and Chinese officials are a perfect example of how the Ukrainian conflict is resonating in Asia. Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is in Kyiv, assuring Ukraine’s president steadfast support, while China’s Xi Jinping is in Moscow and has been called as a friend and a collaborator by Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Mr. Kishida’s simultaneous journey is unusual for a Japanese leader to conduct an unannounced international travel, and it is the first visit to a conflict-torn country since World War II. He was brought to the adjacent village of Bucha, where Russian soldiers massacred hundreds of people last year, and left a wreath. His own ruling Liberal Democratic Party was putting increasing pressure on him to visit Ukraine. (LDP).

He was the only G7 leader who has not visited Russia since the invasion began last year. The Chinese president’s visit to Moscow is part of his efforts to increase China’s worldwide dominance. At the same time, his presence in Ukraine sends a powerful message to Japan, which has a lot of balancing to do in its relationship with China. Both nations had security discussions last month, but Tokyo criticized China’s military links to Russia and alleged deployment of surveillance balloons. Japan is particularly concerned about possible similarities between the Russian invasion and a worst-case scenario of Chinese military intervention against Taiwan.