US President Joe Biden yesterday said the crisis in Ukraine was a global issue that heightened the importance of maintaining international order, territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Biden’s comments delivered at the opening of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) with Indo-Pacific leaders in Tokyo come a day after he broke with convention and volunteered US military support for Taiwan.
“This is more than just a European issue. It’s a global issue,” Biden said of the Ukraine situation at the Quad meeting of the US, Japan, India and Australia.
Photo: AFP / Russian Foreign Ministry / handout
“International law, human rights must always be defended regardless of where they’re violated in the world,” he said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told global business leaders in Davos on Monday that the world must increase sanctions against Russia to deter other countries from using “brute force” to achieve their aims.
The EU is likely to agree on an embargo on Russian oil imports “within days,” its biggest member Germany has said, as Moscow said its economic ties with China would grow amid its isolation by the West over the Ukraine conflict.
Many of the EU’s 27 member states are heavily reliant on Russian energy, prompting criticism from Kyiv that the bloc has not moved quickly enough to halt supplies.
Hungary is demanding energy investment before it agrees to an embargo, clashing with EU states pushing for swift approval.
The EU has offered up to 2 billion euros (US$2.14 billion) to central and eastern nations lacking non-Russian supply.
“We will reach a breakthrough within days,” German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck told broadcaster ZDF.
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov said the Kremlin would focus on developing ties with China as economic links with the US and Europe were cut.
Lavrov, in a question-and-answer session at an event in Moscow, said that Western countries had espoused “russophobia” since Russia launched its incursion into Ukraine.
Russia was working to replace goods imported from Western countries, and would rely only on “reliable” countries not beholden to the West.
“If they [the West] want to offer something in terms of resuming relations, then we will seriously consider whether we will need it or not,” Lavrov said, according to a transcript on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Web site.
“We must cease being dependent in any way on supplies of absolutely everything from the West for ensuring the development of critically important sectors for security, the economy or our homeland’s social sphere,” he said.
Lavrov said Moscow’s goal now is to further develop ties with China.
“Now that the West has taken a ‘dictator’s position’, our economic ties with China will grow even faster,” Lavrov said. “In addition to direct revenue for the state budget, this is a chance to develop [Russia’s] far east and eastern Siberia.”
AT WASHINGTON SUMMIT: The agreement between the US and 14 Pacific nations came half a year after the Solomon Islands struck a security deal with China The Solomon Islands has joined 13 other Pacific nations in signing a wide-reaching US-led partnership agreement, after early indications it would refuse. The 10-point US-Pacific Partnership deal was announced by the White House on Thursday evening, following the first-ever meeting between a US president and the leaders of every major Pacific nation. It includes commitments for increased action on climate change, economic development and security cooperation. Earlier, US President Joe Biden committed more than US$810 million to a new Pacific initiative. “A great deal of the history of our world is going to be written in the Indo-Pacific over the coming years
LANDING INCIDENT: A plane with 63 passengers was shot at by ‘terrorists’ from an ethnic minority militia, state news reported, although militants denied responsibility Myanmar’s military government accused rebel forces in the eastern state of Kayah of firing at a passenger plane as it was preparing to land on Friday, wounding a passenger who was hit by a bullet that penetrated the fuselage. Rebel groups denied the allegation. Myanmar state television MRTV said the Myanmar National Airlines plane, carrying 63 passengers, was hit as it was about to land in Loikaw, the capital of the eastern state of Kayah, also known as Karenni. It cited junta spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun as saying the shooting was carried out by “terrorists” belonging to the Karenni National
FAMILY OUTING: The president, his wife and two sons went to Singapore on a military plane to watch an F1 race as the Philippines grapples with the aftermath of a typhoon A trip by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr to Singapore over the weekend to watch Formula One races has come under attack from critics who described it as “utterly callous” while thousands of Filipinos remain displaced due to a recent typhoon. Marcos Jr confirmed his trip to Singapore for the Grand Prix event in a brief statement and pictures he posted on Facebook on Monday night after a flurry of online criticism. “They say that playing golf is the best way to drum up business, but I say it’s Formula 1,” Marcos Jr said. “What a productive weekend.” He said without elaborating that
AHEAD OF CCP CONGRESS: The indictment came as a former deputy minister was given a death sentence with a two-year reprieve for stock manipulation and bribery Former Tibet vice governor Zhang Yongze (張永澤) has been indicted on charges of accepting bribes, state media reported yesterday. Zhang is the latest high-level former official to be indicted on graft charges weeks before a major congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), whose leader, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), has made fighting corruption a signature issue. Zhang “took advantage of his former positions and power to seek benefits for others” in obtaining government contracts and obtaining promotions, for which he “illegally accepted a large amount of money and valuables in return,” the official Xinhua news agency quoted the indictment as saying. Zhang’s