VILNIUS – Two poles of power are forming in the world: one of suspected war criminals and the other of countries seeking to preserve respect and the rules-based order, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Wednesday after the Chinese leader's visit to Russia.
"Basically, two poles of the world are forming: one is the pole that is emerging around the now recognized war criminal Vladimir Putin and includes Iran and North Korea, and China is also choosing and moving toward what could apparently be called a center accused of war crimes," Lithuania's top diplomats told reporters.
"And the other pole is that of the democratic world committed to preserving a world based on rules and respect for human rights and for territorial integrity," he added.
Chinese President Xi Jinping left Russia on Wednesday following a summit with Putin.
In their talks, the two leaders demonstrated unity against the West and expressed concern about NATO's growing presence in Asia, and agreed to deepen their partnership which has become closer in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
According to Landsbergis, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's visit to Ukraine is "more than symbolic" in this context and reminds Lithuania that its responsibility "does not end at our borders".
"This is why we are concerned about the challenges that arise closer to Japan's shores, whether it is North Korea's ballistic missile tests, or the changing of the situation on the island of Taiwan with weapons or through military aggression of some kind, which has an impact on us as well," the minister said.
"And our responsibility is also needed there, and our concern is needed," he added.
Kishida made a surprise visit to Kyiv on Tuesday, taking some attention away from Xi's trip to Russia.
The Japanese prime minister visited Bucha, a town near the Ukrainian capital where Russian forces were accused of mass killings of civilians, and later met with President Volodymyr Zelensky.