In a city destroyed by the atomic bomb, the Group of Seven discusses sanctions against Russia and China’s economic “blackmail”. News

In a city destroyed by the atomic bomb, the Group of Seven discusses sanctions against Russia and China’s economic “blackmail”. News
In a city destroyed by the atomic bomb, the Group of Seven discusses sanctions against Russia and China’s economic “blackmail”. News

The Group of Seven industrialized countries will hold a summit in Hiroshima, Japan, tomorrow, Friday, to discuss a number of issues on the international scene, the most important of which is Russia’s war on Ukraine and “economic coercion” that China may practice, in addition to military tensions in East Asia.

The summit, in which US President Joe Biden will participate, is being held amid escalating tension in the East Asian region, as Japanese officials have warned of the possibility of China repeating the Ukraine scenario in Taiwan.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will receive the leaders of the six other major economic powers in the Group of Seven for the summit, which will last until Sunday in the city, which was destroyed by an atomic bomb in 1945 and is dotted with monuments for peace today.

The leaders are scheduled to begin their summit with a visit to the Peace Museum in central Hiroshima, dedicated to commemorating the US atomic bombing of the city at the end of World War II.

The leaders of the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada will seek to present a united front against Russia and China, and try to converge on other strategic issues.

The Russian war on Ukraine, since its inception some 15 months ago, will dominate the agenda of the summit, with “discussions on the situation on the battlefield” organized, according to US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

The United States and its allies have stepped up arms supplies to Kiev, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will participate in the summit via video link.

Sullivan said that the discussions will focus on tightening sanctions against Russia, which have so far led to a contraction of the Russian economy in the first quarter of 2023.

He indicated that the seven leaders will discuss ways to prevent the circumvention of sanctions that allows Russian President Vladimir Putin to continue financing his war effort in Ukraine.

The seven countries strongly condemned Putin’s repeated threats to use nuclear weapons in the war in Ukraine, which some observers considered an attempt to weaken the resolve of Europeans and Americans.

These dangers will be highlighted when the seven leaders visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, built at the site of the US atomic bomb on August 6, 1945, in memory of the 140,000 victims.

Kishida, whose family hails from Hiroshima, and is himself elected from the city, hopes to seize the summit to urge the leaders of the other six countries, particularly the United States, the United Kingdom and France, which together have thousands of nuclear warheads, to pledge transparency about their stockpiles and to limit their arsenals.

A number of military leaders and diplomatic officials, including 6 former presidents, called on the nuclear powers – yesterday, Wednesday – to put aside their differences and discuss measures to control nuclear weapons.

But in light of the growing tension with other nuclear powers such as Russia, North Korea and China, hopes remain low for achieving progress in this regard at the G7 summit.

economic coercion

The seven countries will devote a large part of their discussions to the issue of China, especially ways to address what they see as “economic blackmail” that Beijing may practice, by diversifying production and supply networks, at a time when the Chinese government has shown its willingness to impose restrictions on trade.

It is expected – according to Sullivan – that the leaders of the seven countries will denounce this “economic coercion” and seek to overcome the differences between the two sides of the Atlantic regarding the position to be adopted towards China.

However, European countries, especially France and Germany, are determined to ensure that addressing the dangers of “economic coercion” does not mean severing relations with China, one of the largest markets in the world.

And the Elysee Palace stressed before the summit that it was not “hostile to China,” calling for sending a “positive message” of cooperation, “on the condition that we negotiate together.”

Japan also invited 8 countries to Hiroshima, including emerging economic powers such as India and Brazil, in an attempt to include some leaders who are reticent to confront the Russian war on Ukraine and Beijing’s escalating military ambitions in the region.