g7 leaders reckon with ukraine haunted by hiroshima nuclear legacy The Pearl Dream Inc

G7 leaders reckon with Ukraine, haunted by Hiroshima nuclear legacy

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By Trevor Hunnicutt

HIROSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) – Leaders of the world’s advanced democracies start their Group of Seven (G7) summit on Friday in Hiroshima with a sombre remembrance of the costs of war as they grapple with the conflict in Ukraine.

Ahead of a summit focused heavily on ending Russia’s war in Ukraine and on preventing conflict with China, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will gather world leaders at a peace memorial in the Japanese city levelled by an atomic bomb in World War Two.

The G7 countries – the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Canada and Italy – are poised to use the summit to announce tightened sanctions on Russia and debate strategy on a more than year-long conflict that shows no signs of easing.

Moscow has said it is ready to use its nuclear arsenal to defend its “territorial integrity” if necessary. Kishida, who represents Hiroshima in Japan’s lower house of parliament, said he chose the city for the summit to focus attention on arms control.

“You will hear a powerful statement of unity, strength and commitment in our response to Russia’s war of aggression,” said a senior Biden administration official. “You will see new steps taken to economically isolate Russia and to weaken its ability to wage war.”

As part of the efforts, each of the G7 members will be unveiling new sanctions, according to the U.S. official. The United States is set to add 70 entities to its export blacklist, expand its sanctions authority to 300 entities as well as new sectors of the Russian economy, that person said.

The goal is to close evasion loopholes in countries from Europe to Asia and the Middle East, target goods used by Russia in waging the war, reduce reliance on that country’s energy exports and cut Moscow’s access to the international financial system.

The leaders were also set to take steps to better trace diamonds to eventually cut off trade in the precious gems from Russia, European Union officials said.

CHINA ALSO IN FOCUS

China is set to feature prominently in conversations on Friday, too, as G7 countries debate how to handle what they see as Beijing’s threat to global supply chains and economic security without completely alienating a powerful and important trade partner.

Creating a uniform policy on both Russia and China has been a priority for U.S. President Joe Biden even as he cut his trip to Asia short to deal with a domestic debt limit fight that threatened to add an economic crisis to world leaders’ agendas.

G7 finance leaders warned in Japan last weekend of mounting economic uncertainty, in a subdued end to a meeting overshadowed in part by concerns about the U.S. debt stalemate.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is expected to address the G7 leaders, though he may do so by video rather than in person.

Guests at the summit also include several of Japan’s and China’s neighbours around the Indo-Pacific, including Australia, African Union chair Comoros, Pacific Islands Forum chair Cook Islands, India, Association of Southeast Asian Nations chair Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam.

The G7 is looking to draw closer to members of the “Global South” to counter China’s role on the global stage. But it remains to be seen how direct the countries’ language will be toward China. Some G7 members are sceptical about signing on to controls on investment into China.

Part of the strategy has included stepping up emphasis on semiconductors as countries look to diversify away from China and also to deny that country access to advanced technology that could be used for military purposes.

Kishida met with executives from Micron Technology Inc, Intel Corp and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) on Thursday.

He has also drawn the pacifist country closer in military ties with other countries, including signing a “Hiroshima Accord” with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The two countries also agreed to work closer together on their computer chip supply chains.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by Jeff Mason, Susan Heavey, John Irish and Andreas Rinke; Editing by David Dolan and Alistair Bell)

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