Thursday, May 28, 2015Thursday, May 28, 2015

Japan postpones foreign minister's trip to Russia amid Ukraine crisis

Published on Apr 17, 2014 5:11 PM

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan has postponed a visit to Russia by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida that had been planned for later this month, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, as bloodshed in an eastern city in Ukraine threatened to overshadow crisis talks in Geneva.

A Japanese foreign ministry spokesman said the visit had been postponed for scheduling reasons. The decision to put off the visit comes ahead of US President Barack Obama's April 23-25 state visit to Japan, where the issue of the Ukraine is expected to come up in a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Japan joined other members of the Group of Seven (G7) rich nations in imposing sanctions on Russia for its annexation of Crimea in southern Ukraine, not least due to Japan's concern that a weak response would embolden China to put military muscle behind its claims to tiny islands in the East China Sea that are controlled and also claimed by Japan.

"What we can say after watching what happened to Ukraine is that changes to the status quo by force should not be tolerated," Mr Abe told a symposium earlier on Thursday.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!