Japan G-7 Summit: ‘Critical’ meeting for top powers with Russia, China focus

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The G-7 summit that’s now underway in Japan will present a key moment for some of the strongest nations in the world to make critical decisions on global crises, even as Russia and China weren’t invited to attend. 

“It will be critical for President [Biden] to leave Hiroshima with real deliverables, especially with Biden canceling his follow-on trip to PNG and Australia, a trip intended to show U.S. leadership in the Indo-Pacific region,” Kelly Ann Shaw, former G-7 Sherpa and deputy assistant to the president for international economics, told Fox News Digital. 

“On China, this includes strong language backed by substantive commitments from the G-7 on Chinese economic coercion, military aggression and allied standards for the new economy, including AI,” Shaw, currently a Partner at Hogan Lovells, explained. 

“On Russia, the G-7 should press for tougher sanctions, identify new economic pressure points and propose ways to mitigate the economic impact of Russia’s war on the rest of the globe.”

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The G-7 Summit logo at the entrance of the International Media Center ahead the G-7 Leaders’ Summit in Hiroshima May 18, 2023. (Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images)

The G-7 Summit which started Friday in Hiroshima will see the leaders of the U.S., Japan, Britain, Italy, Canada, France, Germany and the European Union (EU) meeting to tackle the biggest issues facing the international community. Other attendees will include Australia, Brazil, India (as president of the G-20), Indonesia (as chair of ASEAN), Comoros (as African Union chair), South Korea and Vietnam. 

Most notably, China and Russia will not attend because they are not members of the group, but their actions over the past year will drive most of the discussion at the summit. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin also faces an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court for alleged involvement in the abduction of Ukrainian children, and Japan, as a member of the ICC, could take Putin into custody if he were to even step foot in the country. 

Each year, the summit has a stated theme or goal. In 2021, the summit focused on “Build Back Better.” In 2022, the summit aimed to find “progress towards an equitable world.” This year’s summit has no singular focus, but will instead zero in on two key points — upholding international order based on the rule of law and outreach to the global south. 

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G7 hiroshima meeting

President Biden, third left, and Fumio Kishida, center right, Japan’s prime minister, attend a bilateral meeting ahead of the Group of Seven leaders summit in Hiroshima, Japan, Thursday, May 18, 2023.  (Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A Japanese official at the Consul General in New York City told Fox News Digital that within these two platforms, the summit will seek to address the crisis in Ukraine and concerns about China’s actions in the past year. 

“We are very much concerned that Russia has gone as far as playing with the rhetoric of using nuclear weapons, for instance,” the official said. “That is a grave concern not only for Japan, but for the whole world. So, I think Ukraine remains to be the top priority probably for the coming G-7 summit.” 

The official stressed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused impacts far beyond just the borders of Europe, which is why the G-7 seeks to align its policies with those of the global south, which includes countries like India, parts of Africa, and the ASEAN economic bloc in Asia, the third-largest economic power in the region after China and India. 

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Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, center, and his wife Akshata Murty, left, are greeted by officials upon arriving in Hiroshima after their visit to Tokyo ahead of the G-7 Summit May 18, 2023.  (Stefan Rousseau/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

The Japanese official argued that Russia’s aggression has “in many ways” impacted energy policy, prices and food issues in these countries. 

“We want to show our solidarity with the global South as we respond to the Russian aggression,” he said. 

Shaw noted that the G-7 has tried to tackle China’s ambitions before, most recently when Italy agreed to participate in Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative, something the other G-7 members did not treat lightly, leading to tensions at the summit. 

Biden Japan arrival

Biden arrived at Iwakuni Air Station in Japan Thursday at the start of his visit to Japan for the G-7.  (Reuters)

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“Italy signed the initiative right before I took over as G-7 Sherpa. In fact, my first G-7 meeting was about this topic,” Shaw said. “It was incredibly tense as we all warned Italy not to move forward — we did not hold back.

“Everyone was concerned about China’s attempts to split the G-7, and they still are,” she added. “Right now, the stakes are too high for division, and Biden will need to show that he can unify allies, especially as his administration attempts to reestablish communication with China.”

Reuters contributed to this article.

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