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VOA Asia Weekly: US Announces $1.2 Billion More in Military Aid to Ukraine, as China Prepares to Send Envoy

VOA Asia Weekly: US Announces $1.2 Billion More in Military Aid to Ukraine, as China Prepares to Send Envoy
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Japan will allow South Korean experts to inspect water released from Fukushima plant. ASEAN summit ends without progress on Myanmar peace plan. The US will provide $1.2 billion in military aid to Ukraine ahead of spring offensive. Young Buddhist monks have heads ritually shaved.

The U.S. is providing Ukraine with $1.2 billion in military aid, as China announces plans to send an envoy there for peace negotiations.

Welcome to VOA Asia Weekly. I'm Chris Casquejo in Washington. That story is coming up, but first, making headlines:

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was in Seoul Sunday for the first visit to the South Korean capital by a Japanese leader in 12 years, returning the trip South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol made to Tokyo in March. Kishida said he had agreed to allow South Korean experts to inspect the planned release of water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Southeast Asian nations have made "no significant progress" on implementing a peace plan aimed at ending bloodshed in Myanmar, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Thursday, on the final day of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.

Thailand will hold a general election on May 14. Pita Limjaroenrat of the youth-backed Move Forward party is the leading choice for prime minister in the most recent polls. That party is polling second after the Pheu Thai Party associated with exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. His daughter is also a top contender for PM.

Terry Gou, the billionaire founder of electronics manufacturer Foxconn, vowed he would be able to "preserve peace" between the democratic self-ruled island of Taiwan and China if he's elected president of Taiwan, at his first campaign rally for the China-friendly opposition Kuomintang party. The vote is in January 2024.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that Washington is looking to cooperate with China to “solve big challenges.” His remarks come as China prepares to send an envoy to Ukraine for peace talks. Meanwhile, the U.S. is providing Ukraine with $1.2 billion in military aid ahead of its expected spring offensive against Russia. VOA’s Nike Ching has more.

Russian forces attacked Kyiv with a barrage of missiles, hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech at a Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square, accusing the West of waging a “real war” against Russia.

In Washington, the Pentagon said the U.S. will provide Ukraine with $1.2 billion in military aid, ahead of its expected spring offensive against Russia.

“Right now, of course, the focus is on the Ukrainian efforts that we anticipate to try to retake more of the territory that's been seized from Ukraine by Russia over the last 14 plus months. My own estimation is that they have in place across all of those dimensions what they need to continue to be successful in regaining territory.”

Ukraine’s spring offensive against Russia may pave the way for negotiations by the end of the year, officials say.

In Europe, officials said China could play a part.

"China, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, can play a significant role in ending the war if it chooses to do so.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said Tuesday that China is preparing to send a peace envoy to Ukraine.

“We will persist in promoting peace talks. And we will send the Chinese government's special envoy for Eurasian affairs to visit Ukraine in the near future.”

But one analyst is skeptical.

"The Chinese are not neutral. They are not unbiased. They are clearly tilted, much tilted toward Russia. The key caution is to be sure that any conversation with the Chinese about the Ukraine war — Russian war on Ukraine — has the Ukrainians as participants.”

U.S. officials say there is a role for China to play in mediating peace talks. But such diplomatic efforts should be consistent with the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Nike Ching, VOA News, Washington.

Visit for the most up-to-date stories.

Thanks for watching VOA Asia Weekly. I’m Chris Casquejo. Until next week.

We leave you at a ceremony in which nine child monks had their heads shaved by Buddhist monks at the Jogyesa Temple in Seoul, South Korea. The ritual makes its first comeback in four years after the relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions.