Sanctions against Moscow and relations with Beijing on the menu at the G7 in Hiroshima

Leaders of the G7 countries began arriving in the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Thursday, a symbol of peace, to discuss measures to strengthen sanctions against Russia and protect against “economic coercion” from China.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will welcome leaders of six other major industrial democracies from Friday to Sunday in the city destroyed by a US atomic bomb in 1945 and today home to several monuments to peace.

US President Joe Biden arrived in Japan on Thursday afternoon, becoming the second president since Barack Obama in 2016 to visit Hiroshima.

The invasion of Ukraine launched by Russia 15 months ago is expected to dominate the agenda.

On the sidelines of a meeting with Mr Kishida, Mr Biden said on Thursday that the G7 “stands for common values, including support for the Ukrainian people who defend their sovereign territory and for Russia’s brutal aggression”. Responsibility”.

The United States and its allies have increased arms shipments to Ukraine, whose President Volodymyr Zelensky is to attend the summit by videoconferencing.

– nuclear disarmament –

According to US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, the talks should particularly focus on tightening sanctions against Moscow, which has caused a contraction of the Russian economy in the first quarter of 2023.

Heads of state and government will also discuss sanctions against the Russian diamond trade, according to an official from the European Union, an organization that participates in the G7.

“We believe that Russian exports in this area should be limited,” the official said, declining to give a timetable and adding that the G7 was unlikely to reach a final agreement in Japan.

Mr Putin’s repeated threats to turn the war in Ukraine into a nuclear conflict have been unreservedly condemned by G7 leaders and seen by some observers as an attempt to shake the resolve of Europeans and Americans.

The leaders’ planned visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is expected to underscore these dangers, where the city was largely destroyed by a US atomic bomb on August 6, 1945, killing 140,000 people.

Mr. Kishida, whose family is from Hiroshima and who was himself elected there, wants to use the summit to encourage his guests, especially the United Kingdom, France and the United States, which together have thousands of nuclear weapons. There are arms, committed to be. Being transparent about your reserves and reducing your arsenal.

A number of military and diplomatic leaders, including six former heads of state, urged nuclear powers on Wednesday to ease tensions and negotiate arms control measures.

But amid heightened tensions with other nuclear powers Russia, North Korea and China, hopes for progress in this area are dim.

– “Economic Coercion” –

The G7 should devote a greater portion of its discussions to China, and in particular to the means of protecting itself from potential economic blackmail by Beijing, by diversifying production and supply chains, while the Chinese government is prepared to use trade barriers. Is.

For Mr Sullivan, G7 leaders should condemn this “economic coercion” and try to resolve transatlantic differences over the position it should take with China.

But European countries, notably France and Germany, are keen to ensure that eliminating risk does not mean breaking ties with China, one of the world’s biggest markets.

Alysée insisted ahead of the summit, it is “not an anti-China G7”, wishing a “positive message” of cooperation “provided we hold talks together”.

Japan has invited eight third-party countries, including major emerging economies such as India and Brazil, to Hiroshima in an effort to rally some reluctant leaders to oppose Russia’s war in Ukraine and growing military ambitions from Beijing.

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