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G7 leaders voice concern over China’s maritime activities, reaffirm support for Ukraine

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Hiroshima: The Leaders of the Group of Seven countries on Saturday in a joint communique expressed serious concern about China’s maritime activities in the East and South China seas, while also calling on Beijing to press Russia “to stop its military aggression” and reaffirmed their “unwavering support” for Ukraine.

The joint communique, released by G7 leaders a day ahead of the summit’s conclusion, stressed on their commitment to reinforcing a free and open international order based on the rule of law, continued support for Ukraine, and work towards a world free of nuclear weapons.

The document said the G7 leaders are “more united than ever” to “meet the global challenges of this moment and set the course for a better future.”

The leaders issued a statement on Ukraine saying they “reaffirm unwavering support” for the country, and that they will continue “to counter the negative impacts of the war on the rest of the world, particularly on the most vulnerable people.”

It expressed serious concern about China’s maritime activities in the East and South China seas, and said the G7 nations are strongly opposed to “any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion”, and called for respecting human rights, including in Tibet and Xinjiang.

The joint statement also reiterated the need to avoid one of the prime concerns of G7 nations: the possibility of a massive conflagration erupting over self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as a renegade province that must be unified with the mainland — by force, if necessary.

“We reaffirm the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as indispensable to security and prosperity in the international community,” the statement said, calling for “a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues”.

On Ukraine, it said: “We call on China to press Russia to stop its military aggression, and immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw its troops from Ukraine. We encourage China to support a comprehensive, just and lasting peace based on territorial integrity and the principles and purposes of the U.N. Charter, including through its direct dialogue with Ukraine.”

At the same time, it stated that the G7 leaders “stand prepared to build constructive and stable relations with China,” saying it is necessary to cooperate with the country on global challenges.

On the global economy, the document said the G7 will “continue to closely monitor financial sector developments and stand ready to take appropriate actions to maintain financial stability and the resilience of the global financial system.”

On economic security, the document said the G7 will work to launch a framework to counter economic coercion used to influence policies or the decision-making process of other countries through methods including embargos, in an apparent bid to keep China in check.

On climate change, the document said the leaders will work together to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest and “will engage with developing and emerging countries to accelerate emissions reduction…through various and practical pathways taking into account national circumstances.”

The communique also said the G7 nations will continue to provide assistance to vulnerable countries and regions affected by the food security crisis.

On artificial intelligence, the document tasks ministers of the group with launching an initiative called “Hiroshima AI process…for discussions on generative AI by the end of this year.

It also said the G7 leaders “endeavor to work with all segments of society to ensure full, equal and meaningful participation of women and girls… as well as LGBTQIA+ persons in politics, economics, education and all other spheres of society.”

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