Russia-Ukraine impact on the Shangri-la Dialogue

The Ukraine war was the focal point of discussion at the Shangri-la Dialogue in the speech “Ukraine today may be East-Asia tomorrow” delivered by Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida. His speech was an appeal to prevent the usage/ threat of usage of nuclear weapons by Russia. He strongly criticised Russia for violating the provisions of the UN Charter and, advocated sanctions against for its aggression against Ukraine, he made it clear that Japan stands with Ukraine as it has made the decision to shift its policy towards Russia and is united with the international community in efforts to impose strong sanctions against Russia, just like its neighbouring countries such as Finland and sweden have cut their ties and applied for North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) membership. With the very foundations of the international order being shaken by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the international community now stands at a historic road as this situation leads the economy to a standstill.

The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky on the other hand made a virtual presence at the dialogue and stated that “Preventive sanctions should have taken place against Russia before the war began” and to counter this statement there were no Russian participants present at the Dialogue. The war in Ukraine for some may appear distant but it facts have become global. He quoted the words of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister and said that “If there had been no international law and the big fish ate a small fish and a small fish ate shrimps, we would not have existed.” Zelensky made a clever remark while speaking of China as he highlighted that no one benefits from war, apart from certain political leaders who are not content with the present level of their ambitions and for that, they keep growing their appetites. Many delegates questioned China’s relations with Russia and its funding with respect to the attacks on Ukraine, to which Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe said that Beijing did not provided any war related material to Russia as providing weapons or imposing sanctions would not help the situation. At the same time, Wei also clarified Chinese stance in the international community is to pursue its own goals and not to be an ally of other countries.

Zelensky ended his speech on a positive note by doing absolute justice to the graphics of his T-shirt with the image of a girl spray painting a Ukrainian flag of blue and yellow, which he describes as ‘a young girl painting a new future for Ukraine’ it happens to be his way of showing support to an initiative of a singaporean girl that aims to. He illustrated how Ukraine has received worldwide support and stated that Ukraine is definitely going to prevail in the war which started by Russia and ensured the delegates as well as the people of his country that he is going to represent Ukraine at the Shangri-la platform with his offline/ physical presence after winning the war against Russia.

The article has been authored by Harsh Mahaseth, an assistant professor, Jindal Global Law School, and the assistant director, Nehginpao Kipgen Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, O.P. Jindal Global University and Sanjana Chib, law student, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University.

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