This is ‘Global Village Today’, your source for important news from around the world. Host) What are the headlines for today? Reporter) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Russia’s attack on the UN Security Council, calling it a violation of the UN Charter. In response, the Russian ambassador, who disagreed with Zelensky’s priority to end the war, returned to the Security Council. Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited Hangzhou, China to attend the Asian Games and is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping. Host) That wraps up our first news story from the global village today. Was President Zelensky present at the UN Security Council meeting? Reporter) Yes, President Zelensky attended an open discussion at the ministerial level as an interested party. This was his first visit to the United Nations General Assembly since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia last year. Host) And what was the topic of the Security Council meeting? Reporter) The topic was ‘Ukraine Peace and Security Maintenance’. President Zelensky criticized Russia for its criminal and illegal attack, calling for the reform of the UN and the removal of Russia’s veto power. Host) So, Russia’s use of the veto continues to hinder decision-making in the Security Council? Reporter) Yes, that’s correct. The Security Council consists of 15 members, including 5 permanent members with veto power. If any of the permanent members objects, no decision can be made. Russia has frequently exercised its veto. Host) Who from the Russian government was present at the meeting? Reporter) Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenja, was present. It was speculated whether there would be conflict between President Zelensky and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, but they did not encounter each other. Host) Did Ambassador Nebenja object to the meeting’s proceedings? Reporter) Yes, he objected to President Zelensky speaking before the 15 members of the Security Council, arguing that it undermined the Council’s authority. Host) How did the Chairman of the Security Council respond to this objection? Reporter) Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, who was presiding over the meeting, assured that it was not a special operation. He responded with humor, suggesting that if Russia agrees to stop the war, President Zelensky wouldn’t have to speak. Host) Was President Zelensky present during this conversation? Reporter) Yes, he and Ukrainian representatives in military uniform listened to Prime Minister Rama’s remarks. President Zelensky later thanked him on social media for showing the world how to deal with Russia’s lies and hypocrisy. Host) It seems like President Zelensky’s presence at the UN General Assembly is meant to rally international support. Who did he meet with? Reporter) President Zelensky met with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among others. He aims to garner support and emphasizes the unity of Ukrainian Jews living in Israel. He is also scheduled to meet with US President Joe Biden in Washington. Host) That’s our next news story. Can you provide more details? Reporter) President Zelensky will be visiting the White House on the 21st to hold a summit with President Biden. This is his third visit to the White House and comes amid concerns about the duration of support for Ukraine. Host) How has the atmosphere in Washington changed since his last visit? Reporter) The war’s prolonged nature has raised doubts about continued support for Ukraine. If the US Congress does not process the budget in time, there may be a government shutdown. It is reported that President Zelensky will meet with lawmakers privately, instead of addressing Congress. Host) Now, let’s move on to the next news story. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited China, correct? Reporter) Yes, President Assad visited Hangzhou, China. This is his first visit to China in about 20 years, and he also plans to meet President Xi Jinping. Host) President Assad seems to be gaining more visibility in the international community. Why is that? Reporter) Despite criticism for human rights violations and the humanitarian crisis in Syria, President Assad has been gradually reappearing in the international scene. His attendance at the Arab League summit and the earthquake in Syria have contributed to better relations with Arab countries. Host) What is the relationship like between Syria and China? Reporter) China, along with Russia and Iran, has long supported the Assad regime and opposed resolutions condemning or punishing it. China has voted against such resolutions multiple times. Host) Is Syria facing economic difficulties due to sanctions? Reporter) Yes, Western sanctions have impacted Syria’s economy. The US and Europe,
Reporter) Yes. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Russia’s attack on the UN Security Council as a crime that undermines the UN Charter. The Chairman of the Security Council returned to the Russian ambassador, who opposed President Zelenskyy’s order of priority in terms of comments, that Russia should end the war. The President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, visited Hangzhou, China, where the Asian Games are being held. President Assad, who is visiting China for the first time in about 20 years, is also scheduled to hold a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Reporter) Yes. President Zelenskyy attended an open discussion at the ministerial level of the United Nations Security Council on the 20th as an interested party. This is the first time President Zelensky has visited the United Nations General Assembly in New York since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year. This was the first time I attended a meeting of the Security Council in person.
Host) You said that President Zelenskyy was present as an interested party What was the topic of the Security Council meeting that day?
Reporter) It was ‘Ukraine Peace and Security Maintenance’. President Zelensky criticized Russia for carrying out a ‘criminal and illegal attack’ which undermines the UN Charter and all the rules of war. President Zelensky also called for reform of the United Nations and stressed that Russia should be stripped of its veto power.
Host) You were pointing out the situation where the Security Council continues to be unable to adopt related resolutions because Russia exercised its veto, right?
Reporter) That’s right. The Security Council consists of 15 members, including 5 permanent members: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, and Russia, and 10 non-permanent members. Decisions are made by approval of more than 9 countries, including 5 permanent members. However, if even one of the permanent members who have the right to veto objects, no decision can be made. Russia has repeatedly exercised its veto.
Host) Who from the Russian government was present at the meeting?
Reporter) Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenja present. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov usually attended the Security Council ministerial meeting, and because of this, there was much speculation before the meeting whether President Zelensky and Minister Lavrov, a top Russian diplomat, would be conflict or avoid each other. However, President Zelensky left the conference room immediately after his speech, and Minister Lavrov entered the conference room after President Zelensky’s speech and there was no conflict between them.
Host) But did Ambassador Nevenja object to the way the Security Council meetings were run?
Reporter) That’s right. On this day, President Zelenskyy was the first individual country to receive the right to speak, following the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. Ambassador Nevenja objected to the chairman’s decision to have President Zelensky speak before the 15 members of the Security Council, arguing that it undermined the authority of the Security Council.
Host) What did the Chairman of the Security Council say about Ambassador Nevenja’s claim?
Reporter) Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, who holds the presidency this month, began by saying, “I want to assure our friends in Russia and everyone here that this is not a special operation by the Albanian government.” Chief Minister Rama is known as a politician with a sharp sense of humor. Some attendees smiled quietly at these words. “This is the answer,” responded Prime Minister Rama. “If you agree, stop the war, and then President Zelenskyy will not have to stand here.”
Host) Was President Zelenskyy present when this conversation was taking place?
Reporter) Yes. President Zelenskyy and Ukrainian representatives in military uniform listened to Prime Minister Rama’s remarks. President Zelenskyy later thanked Prime Minister Rama on social media, saying he had “shown the world how to properly deal with Russia, their lies and hypocrisy.”
Host) President Zelenskyy’s presence at the UN General Assembly at a time of war appears to be a move to encourage the international community to unite and provide continued support. What kind of leaders did you meet at the general meeting?
Host) Yes. The first head of state to meet was the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The meeting was held on the 20th at the request of Ukraine. After the meeting, President Lula said on social media ‘X’ that the two men discussed the importance of establishing peace. President Zelensky also met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. President Zelenskyy, who is of Jewish descent, has appealed for support, emphasizing the unity with which many Ukrainian Jews live in Israel. President Zelenskiy also had a busy schedule, meeting with UN Secretary General António Guterres, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, and Chilean President Gabriel Borić.
Host) We will have a summit meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington, right?
Reporter) That’s right. I will be visiting the White House at 3pm on the 21st, US Eastern time. Next, we will hold a summit. This is President Zelensky’s third visit to the White House. This is my second visit since the Russian invasion. President Zelensky surprised the world by visiting Washington amid tight security on December 21 last year.
Host) And you visit Washington again after 9 months.
Reporter) That’s right. President Zelenskyy was warmly welcomed by the American people as a defender of democracy and freedom at the time. But the atmosphere in Washington now is not as good as it was then. As the war drags on and develops into a war of attrition, negative voices are emerging asking how long we will have to support Ukraine. In addition, if the US Congress does not process the 2024 fiscal year budget by the end of this month, the federal government is in a position where it could fall into a temporary ‘shutdown’ state. Meanwhile, President Zelensky is visiting Washington. Unlike his last visit, it is reported that President Zelenskyy will not address a joint session of the United States Congress this time, but will instead meet with some lawmakers privately.
Reporter) Yes. Syrian President Assad visited Hangzhou, a city in eastern China, on the 21st. This was President Assad’s first visit to China for around 20 years, and he visited Beijing in 2004 and had a summit with then President Hu Jintao.
Host) President Assad has been gradually appearing in the international community recently.
Reporter) That’s right. Syria has been in a 12-year civil war since 2011. President Assad was isolated from the international community amid criticism that the Syrian government was committing horrific human rights violations and that Syria’s humanitarian situation was facing the worst crisis in the world However, he appears to be expanding his steps after attending the Arab League summit held in Saudi Arabia last May.
Host) The earthquake that happened in Syria was also a trigger, right?
Reporter) That’s right. Last February, a large-scale earthquake occurred in Turkey and Syria. At the time, the damage from the earthquake was so severe that almost 60,000 people died in Turkiye, and because the earthquake happened in Syria in an area where there were rebels, the damage in Syria was not well known. However, Arab countries that had previously turned their backs on Syria also extended a helping hand, paving the way for better relations.
Host) How was the relationship between Syria and China?
Reporter) China, along with Syria’s main allies, Russia and Iran, has always supported and maintained relations with the Assad regime. The US government has been trying to get the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution condemning or punishing the Assad regime, but it has been unsuccessful due to opposition from China and Russia. According to Reuters, China has voted against adopting resolutions related to Syria at least eight times so far.
Host) Syria is currently experiencing economic difficulties due to Western sanctions, right?
Reporter) That’s right. The governments of the United States, Europe, Australia and Canada are imposing economic sanctions against the Assad government. Assad’s government claims Western sanctions are responsible for its economic crisis. They also accuse the US of supporting Kurdish rebels who control oil fields bordering Iraq.
Host) President Assad’s visit to Hangzhou is related to the Asian Games, right?
Reporter) That’s right. The 19th Asian Games opening ceremony will be held in Hangzhou this weekend, on the 23rd, and President Assad is scheduled to attend the opening ceremony. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni and Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal will also attend the opening ceremony.
Host) Will Chinese President Xi Jinping also attend the opening ceremony?
Reporter) Yes. President Xi will arrive in Hangzhou on the 22nd and attend the opening ceremony. The summit between President Xi and President Assad is to be held on the 22nd.
Host) Recently, China has been expanding its relations with Middle Eastern countries obviously, right?
Reporter) That’s right. One example is China’s mediation in helping Saudi Arabia and Iran reach an agreement to normalize relations last March. Saudi Arabia, the Sunni Islamic suzerain, and Iran, the Shiite powerhouse, are the biggest enemies in the Middle East. These two countries suddenly announced in Beijing that they would restore diplomatic relations after seven years. This was evaluated as China’s new challenge to the United States, which has a long influence in the Middle East.
Host) We will be listening to this part of the global village today.
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