Abe reassures Kiev on Japan's support for Ukraine

Abe reassures Kiev on Japan's support for Ukraine
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during their talks in Kiev on Saturday.

KIEV - Japanese and Ukrainian leaders on Saturday agreed not to allow the changing of the status quo by force, in reference to Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in southern Ukraine in March last year.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko also agreed in a meeting at the president's office in Kiev to try to settle the dispute through peaceful means.

Abe, the first Japanese prime minister to visit Ukraine, stressed that Japan would never allow any attempt to change the current territorial situation by force.

"Japan has consistently respected Ukrainian territorial integrity," he said.

He also said all parties concerned should observe February's ceasefire agreement.

Poroshenko expressed gratitude to Abe that Japan, in co-operation with the Group of Seven major countries, would continue to support Ukraine. Based on the talks at the meeting, Abe indicated he would discuss the Ukraine issue at the two-day G-7 summit in Germany that runs through Monday.

Regarding Japan's role in settling the conflict in Ukraine, Abe said: "We've attached importance to G-7 solidarity. Japan has maintained sanctions against Russia and urged Russia through 'dialogue and pressure' to play a constructive role."

Poroshenko evaluated the meeting highly, saying, "It was significant that we could confirm our partnership prior to the G-7 summit."

In Ukraine, inefficient finances and corruption are regarded as serious problems. Abe urged Poroshenko to carry out bold and comprehensive reforms.

"Japan has pledged to provide a large amount of financial support for Ukraine," Abe said. "We hope Ukraine will use it well."

Japan has pledged $1.84 billion (S$2.5 b) in economic assistance to Ukraine.

"It's not easy to promote various domestic reforms in a country under invasion by another country," Poroshenko said, referring to Russia. "Japan's financial support is important."

Tamura is a correspondent in Moscow.

Highlights of Japan-Ukraine summit

■ Japan will proactively engage in solving the Ukraine issue peacefully and diplomatically in co-operation with the Group of Seven major nations.

■ Ukraine appreciates Japan's financial support and sanctions against Russia.

■ Both countries will not allow changing the status quo by force.

■ Japan asked Ukraine to carry out comprehensive reforms

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