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Shangri-La Dialogue: Zelensky attending the conference

Zelensky’s presence at the Shangri-La Dialogue serves as a reminder for Asian countries to avoid the pitfalls of geopolitical confrontation. Drawing parallels to Ukraine’s experiences, experts caution against being drawn into bloc confrontations, particularly those instigated by external powers like the US. This underscores the importance of maintaining regional stability through dialogue and diplomacy, rather than escalating tensions that could lead to conflict.

Lieutenant General He Lei highlighted the historic significance of Ukrainian President Zelensky’s participation in the Shangri-La Dialogue, marking the first time a Ukrainian leader has attended.

Against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Zelensky’s presence carries weight, signaling a commitment to engaging with global security issues and seeking potential partnerships. This participation underscores the importance of dialogue and multilateral cooperation in addressing complex geopolitical challenges.

Zelensky’s surprising visit to Asia occurs amidst the prolonged conflict with Russia, now entering its third year. With Ukraine’s economy heavily reliant on the export of grains and oilseeds to global markets, ensuring the safety of the Black Sea shipping passage is crucial. Zelensky’s aim is likely to secure support and alliances that can help safeguard Ukraine’s economic interests while navigating the complexities of the ongoing conflict. This highlights Ukraine’s strategic maneuvering to protect its vital economic lifelines amidst geopolitical tensions.

“China does not want to see war between these two countries,” he said.

Lieutenant General He Lei emphasized China’s consistent stance of advocating for peace and dialogue since the onset of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. He stressed the importance of urging the conflicting parties to pursue a ceasefire swiftly.

He contrasted this approach with that of some nations, which he criticized for having ulterior motives, exacerbating tensions, and fueling chaos through proxy wars. He reaffirmed that prioritizing peace and dialogue is the most practical and constructive path towards resolving war.

Lieutenant General He Lei expressed concern that adopting a confrontational approach could hinder efforts to facilitate dialogue between the conflicting parties, a scenario that should be avoided.

Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun reiterated China’s commitment to a responsible and impartial stance in conflicts like those in Ukraine and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He emphasized China’s dedication to promoting peace and dialogue while exercising strict control over the export of military-civilian dual-use goods.

The observation regarding Zelensky’s participation in the Dialogue potentially being seen as a Western strategy to involve Asian nations in the Ukrainian crisis underscores the delicate balance required in international relations.

The uptick in international visits by the Ukrainian president coincides with escalated tensions, including Russia’s troop buildup near Ukraine’s northeast border and increased air attacks. Zelensky’s intensified diplomatic efforts aim to garner support from foreign leaders, including those from the Global South, ahead of the June 15-16 summit. This suggests a concerted push by Ukraine to bolster its alliances and rally international backing amid heightened security concerns.

Emphasizing Ukraine as a cautionary tale, observers highlight the necessity for Asian countries to maintain neutrality and refrain from getting entangled in external conflicts.

Cui Heng, a scholar from the China National Institute for SCO International Exchange and Judicial Cooperation, emphasized the primary purpose of the Shangri-La Dialogue as a platform for fostering consensus among nations like China and the US, along with other Asia-Pacific countries. The goal is to promote dialogue and collaboration among their militaries, ultimately striving to prevent conflicts in the region.

Source: Washington Post