Hayashi Stresses Importance of Rule of Law at UNSC

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, center, chairs a debate at the U.N. Security Council in New York on Thursday.

NEW YORK — Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi stressed the importance of the rule of law in a speech at the U.N. Security Council in New York amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Japan, which holds the presidency of the security council in January, organized an open debate on Thursday to strengthen pressure on Moscow. Representatives from 77 countries participated in the debate.

“If agreements are not observed in good faith, the rule of law does not exist and the world would become a jungle of brute force and coercion,” said Hayashi, who chaired the debate.

The foreign minister stressed that the rule of law would never allow countries to rewrite national borders by force or by flexing their muscles, eying Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

He urged nations to refrain from supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine both directly and indirectly.

Western member states also directed criticism at Moscow.

The U.S. representative said Russia’s invasion has no legal basis and violates the U.N. Charter and the U.K. representative described the use of force and other actions that do not comply with the U.N. Charter as a threat to all countries.

Meanwhile, Ukraine sought a special court to be established in order to hold Russia criminally responsible.

India, which has maintained a certain distance from Russia, said strengthening the rule of law is important to resolve the conflict peacefully.

Armenia, on which Russia has a strong influence, also said that adherence to the rule of law is essential for realizing justice.

However, the Russian representative firmly rejected the criticism, saying Western countries wanted to create a narrative in which Moscow is the cause of threats to international peace and security, and China, which has maintained a pro-Russian stance, criticized the West, saying that international rules should not be made only by a few countries.

“Many countries made strong statements in response to the theme proposed by Japan,” Hayashi told reporters after his speech.