War in Ukraine: Russia is ‘the most direct threat’ to the world order, says Ursula von der Leyen

Russia “is today the most direct threat to the world order with the barbaric war against Ukraine, and its disturbing pact with China”, said Ms von der Leyen after meeting Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida with the President of the European Council Charles Michel.

The two European officials were in Tokyo on Thursday for an annual round of Japan-EU talks, this time coming amid the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and amid growing concerns in Asia about China’s military ambitions.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not just about Europe, but it is shaking the heart of the international order, including Asia. This must not be tolerated,” said Mr. Kishida, whose government has associated itself with Western sanctions against Moscow, including financial and energy sanctions.

Beijing’s increasingly tough stance in Asia was also on the agenda, with the European Union seeking to play a bigger role against Beijing.

“Our cooperation in Ukraine is essential in Europe, but it is also important in the Indo-Pacific region and we also want to deepen our consultations on an increasingly assertive China,” Michel said.

“We believe that China must assert itself to defend the multilateral system from which it has benefited to develop its country,” he added.

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