The leaders of the world’s richest democracies agreed on Friday to toughen sanctions against Russia, while a draft communique to be released after their talks in the Japanese city of Hiroshima stressed the need to reduce to rely on trade in China.
Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7), who were joined this weekend by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, vowed to restrict any exports to Russia that could help it in its 15-month invasion of Ukraine.
“This includes exports of industrial machinery, tools, and other technology used by Russia to rebuild its war machine,” they said in a joint statement released Friday, adding that they would continue to measures to limit Russian revenues from trade in metals and diamonds.
In China, where the G7 powers are increasingly seen in terms of a threat to economic security, they agree that its status as the second largest economy in the world means that it is necessary to develop cooperation, a an early draft of the final communique seen by Reuters said.
“Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China, we do not seek to hinder the growth and development of China’s economy,” said the draft, which could still be revised, calling for “stable and constructive ” relationship with Beijing.
But the draft nevertheless urges measures to “reduce over-reliance” on critical supply chains and counter “bad practices” in technology transfer and data disclosure.
It reaffirmed the need for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and urged China to force Russia to end its aggression in Ukraine.
The G7 – the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada – will use the three-day meeting to debate the strategy of a conflict in Ukraine that shows no sign of letting up.
The site of the summit, Hiroshima, was destroyed by US nuclear bombings 78 years ago that ended World War II. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who represents Hiroshima in Japan’s lower house of parliament, said he chose it for the global gathering to focus attention on arms control.
Russian threats of possible use of nuclear weapons, along with the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran, have all added to concerns about proliferation.
In the draft, the G7 countries – among them nuclear-armed France, Britain and the United States – expressed their “commitment to achieve a world without nuclear weapons” through a “realistic, pragmatic , and responsible approach.”
Having emerged as the world’s richest nations after World War II, the G7 democracies are increasingly challenged by a rising China and an unpredictable Russia.
Amidst evidence that existing sanctions on Russia are being weakened through circumvention, they said the group is “engaging” in countries through which any banned G7 goods, services or technology could pass through Russia.
“We note and encourage the commitments made by these countries to ensure that our measures are inevitable and have the intended effect,” they said, without naming any territories.
Breakdowns in German trade data showed that its exports to countries bordering Russia rose sharply, raising concerns about re-exporting goods from neighbors. .
It was not immediately clear what effect the new sanctions effort would have on Russia, whose finances have already been squeezed by measures to cut off revenues from its vast energy reserves.
“The words are very open,” a senior EU diplomat said of the G7 language designed to accommodate the different approaches of different countries.
Ukraine has urged its Western allies to further isolate Russia, for example by tightening the loopholes in the financial sector.
Separately, the US administration added 71 entities to a trade blacklist and Britain published plans to ban imports of Russian diamonds, copper, aluminum and nickel, although data showed that the Russia’s import of goods is small.
Reflecting the EU’s view that wider diamond sanctions will only divert Russian trade away from the established gem capital of Antwerp in Belgium, the G7 draft only refers to possible steps towards future restrictions. steps.
The G7 countries reaffirmed their condemnation of Russian aggression and pledged more support for Ukraine, in terms of military aid and financial aid for its war-torn economy this year and next. .
Zelenskiy will attend on Sunday, two officials involved in the G7 summit said, declining to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue. He is expected to fly there on a French government jet after attending an Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia.
The draft communique of the G7 further confirmed its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, but also cited what it considers the continued role of liquefied natural gas as Russia’s energy dependence is reduced.
“Recognizing the primary need to accelerate the clean energy transition, we emphasize the important role that additional LNG deliveries can play,” the draft document said.