Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida ended their trips to Russia and Ukraine respectively on Wednesday, with no major breakthrough achieved by either of them.
Xi, who landed in Moscow on a three-day visit, was expected to broker a much-awaited Russia-Ukraine peace deal. On the other hand, Kishida, who was on a two-day trip to India, left the war-torn nation in a private chartered plane. The trip was touted as a surprise visit-- a similar one by US President Joe Biden last month.
Before Xi left Beijing, it was expected that he would keep the Russia-Ukraine peace deal on top of his agenda. Although a joint statement released by Russia and China mentioned that both leaders had a crucial meeting dedicated to the ongoing war, the outcome did not lead to any breakthrough.
A similar outcome was also glimpsed in Kyiv, where the Japanese PM met his Ukrainian excellency Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
So, what did the visit mean for war-torn Ukraine?
- Xi’s visit gave a strong political boost to Russian President Vladimir Putin just days after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for the Russian leader on charges of alleged involvement in the abductions of thousands of children from Ukraine.
- After the talks, Putin and Xi issued joint declarations pledging to further bolster their “strategic cooperation,” develop cooperation in energy, high-tech industries and other spheres and expand the use of their currencies in mutual trade to reduce dependence on the West.
- They said they would develop military cooperation and conduct more joint sea and air patrols, but there was no mention of Chinese weapon supplies to Russia, a prospect that the U.S. and other Western allies feared. Xi and Putin announced no major progress toward implementing the Chinese peace deal, although the Russian leader said it could be a basis for ending the fighting when the West is ready.
- Putin is keen to show he has a heavyweight ally and market for Russian energy products under Western sanctions. He and Xi signed agreements on economic cooperation, noting that Russian-Chinese trade rose by 30% last year to $185 billion and is expected to top $200 billion this year.
- Russia stands “ready to meet the Chinese economy’s growing demand for energy resources” by boosting deliveries of oil and gas, he said, while listing other areas of cooperation, including aircraft and shipbuilding industries and other high-tech sectors.
- After meeting Kishida, Zelenskyy told reporters his team had sent his own peace formula to China but hasn’t heard back, adding that there were “some signals, but nothing concrete about the possibility of a dialogue.”
- Japan’s top government spokesman said Wednesday that Kishida’s visit to Ukraine was “very meaningful” for Japan’s future support for that country, while taking a leadership role as president of the Group of Seven nations in responding to the issue.
- “Through Prime Minister Kishida’s visit to Ukraine, Japan was able to show not only to other members of the G-7 but also the international society including the Global South (nations) its determination to defend the rules-based international society,” he said.
- Matsuno noted that the China-Russia summit took place almost at the same time as Kishida’s visit to Ukraine, and said “President Xi (Jinping)’s visit to Russia only underscored the unwavering ties between China and Russia despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
(With inputs from agency)
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