By Anthony Marcus, correspondent for Eurasia Business News, May 19, 2023

A three-day summit of the heads of the G7 member states opened on May 19 in Hiroshima, Japan. Before the start of the meetings, the heads of state of the G7 visited on Friday morning the memorial park, where they honored the memory of the victims of the American atomic bombing of 1945, while Assistant to the U.S. President for National Security Jake Sullivan stressed in advance that Joe Biden does not plan to make any statements on this topic.

In pouring rain, the heads of state and government of the seven largest industrialized democracies, including several nuclear powers, were welcomed one by one at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The Japanese leader, accompanied by his wife who wore a gold brooch representing a folded paper crane (origami), an international symbol of peace, wants to put nuclear disarmament on the agenda of the summit opened on Friday. Fumio Kishida, whose political and family roots are in Hiroshima, had already welcomed US President Barack Obama there in 2016 for a historic visit, when he was the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The G7 summit focused on the issue of further support for Ukraine, as well as issues of economic security and climate protection. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to attend the summit.

The G7 countries have already announced new joint restrictive measures against Russia, like sanctions against Russian diamonds. In addition, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, reported on the effect of the sanctions already imposed. According to her, EU sanctions since March 2022 have led to a reduction in exports from European countries to Russia by 55%, and imports by 60%.

In addition, the United States on May 19 announced new national export and personal sanctions, which, according to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, are directed against the mining, technology and metallurgical sectors of the Russian economy.

In a joint statement by the G7 leaders, the seven countries annouced their plan to keep Russia’s $300 billion of sovereign assets frozen “until Moscow compensates for the damage from the conflict.” The G7 countries will take further measures against Russia’s financial sector, but at the same time retain financial channels for “necessary transactions”. The document also notes that the G7 countries will target any attempt “to use the branches of Russian banks in third countries to avoid sanctions.” According to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the goal is to develop sanctions in such a way that “it is impossible to circumvent them.” In addition, the G7 countries will continue to restrict exports of industrial equipment and technologies to Russia. At the same time, the G7 expressed support for the extension of the grain deal.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Friday he is ready to allow other countries to supply Ukraine with fighter jets, including F-16s. The US and Ukrainian presidents will meet in the “coming days,” Kiev also said.

Joe Biden, who orchestrates the Western response to Russia, was facing mounting pressure to allow U.S. Lockheed Martin fighters to be sent to Ukraine, not by the United States itself but by other countries that have them. 

According to Politico, the topic of the alleged threat from China, promoted by Japan, again splits the unity of the allies. It is noted that representatives of Washington and Tokyo sought at the summit to reach a “consensus on significant security measures for the Indo-Pacific region,” but this may be hindered by the special position of a number of countries of the G7.

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Thus, the French President Emmanuel Macron has several times publicly spoken out against the strengthening of NATO’s military power in Asia. The United States, on the other hand, is seeking to impose new restrictions on investment in China, which may also not be supported by other countries of the association.

According to local sources, the draft final communiqué of the G7 summit of Hiroshima contains the statement that China’s status as the second economy in the world means that “there is no alternative to seeking cooperation with it.” “Our policy approaches are not aimed at harming China, we do not seek to hinder China’s economic progress and development,” the draft document says, which can still be changed before adoption. Nevertheless, the G7 countries are striving to “reduce over-dependence” in critical supply chains and counter “China’s malicious practices in the field of industrial espionage.”

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The G7 summit showed that Western countries, despite the spirit of transatlantic unity, maintain borders in matters of internal compromises. The current configuration of the international stage fixes these boundaries, to a certain extent limiting supporters of the radicalization of the sanctions policy or deterrent actions against China.

Fumio Kishida, the Prime minister of Japan since September 2021, seeks to show solidarity with the rest of the G7 members. In March the Japanese leader came to Ukraine as the last of the heads of the G7 member states. Japan considers issues related to Ukraine and China in the same global ideological context. We are talking about the concept of a “rules-based international order”, which is criticized by the Russian authorities, who consider it a cover for U.S. hegemony on other countries. Against this background, disagreements with Europeans who do not want to get more involved in disputes in Asia are indeed noticeable in the G7.

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