Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky joined leaders of major democracies on Saturday at a summit in Japan dominated by a push to present a united front against Russia and China.
The Group of Seven (G7) talks in Hiroshima sought common ground on many global issues, including how to deal with Beijing’s growing military and economic power as well as the war in Europe.
Zelensky, dressed in his trademark military themed clothing, made a headline-grabbing entrance as he landed aboard a French government plane in a Japanese city that had previously been obliterated by a nuclear bomb.
“Japan. G7. Important meetings with colleagues and friends in Ukraine. Security and enhanced cooperation for our victory. Peace will be closer now,” he tweeted a few moments after arriving before going into a confusing round of bilateral meetings with summit leaders.
His presence underscored the urgent need to maintain Western unity in the face of Russian aggression.
With Russian aerial attacks pounding Ukrainian cities and Kyiv preparing for a counter-offensive, there is growing urgency in Zelensky’s calls for more advanced weapons and tighter measures. penalty in Moscow.
A joint communique issued by the G7 countries on Saturday focused heavily on Russia’s war against Ukraine, which the bloc “condemns in the strongest possible terms”.
“We reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine until it is necessary to bring about a comprehensive, just and lasting peace,” the communique read.
A day earlier the G7 countries announced a series of additional sanctions against Moscow while US President Joe Biden told his counterparts that he was removing objections to the granting of the Ukrainians F16 fighter jets and training of Ukrainian pilots in the United States, a major increase in US military support for the country.
Biden is expected to unveil a $375 million military aid package to Ukraine after the summit hears from Zelensky, officials familiar with the matter said, but the leaders are facing a broad set of issues. beyond the war-torn country during their talks, including the climate. innovation and emerging technologies in artificial intelligence.
But Russia is not the only focus of the three-day gathering, which Zelensky is set to address on Sunday.
China also has many features.
Differences persist between the United States and Europe over how to manage their increasingly fraught relations with the world’s second-largest economy.
But in a joint communique on Saturday, the leaders spoke with one voice on a series of positions related to China, including the need to curb “economic coercion” and protect advanced technologies that threaten national security. security, while also stressing that cooperation with Beijing is necessary.
“A rising China that plays by international rules would be in the world’s interest. We are not decoupling or turning inward,” read the communique.
The leaders called on Beijing not to “engage in meddling activities” that could undermine the “integrity of our democratic institutions and our economic prosperity” – an apparent nod to recent allegations that Beijing is meddling of Canadian elections and operates a network of overseas police stations across the country. globe.
A separate joint statement on economic security did not make a specific reference to China – while clearly targeting Russia – but the intended audience was the unmistakable leadership in Beijing.
The leaders called for improving supply chain resilience, cracking down on “harmful industrial subsidies,” and protecting sensitive technologies vital to national security — all areas that leaders have expressed concerns about China’s economic practices in recent years.
Western leaders and officials were more direct in framing the measures as a response to threats from China in comments made around the statement.
Ahead of its release on Saturday, the United Kingdom released a statement on G7 measures against economic coercion, pointing to China’s use of “economic power to pressure countries including Australia and Lithuania on the political dispute.”
China is “engaging in a unified and strategic economic competition,” and countries “must be clear-eyed” about the growing challenge we face,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement released in Downing Street, who also spoke of Russia’s “weapon” of Europe’s energy supplies.
European Commission President Ursual von der Leyen welcomed the G7’s action in a statement on Saturday that countries should be “aware of the danger of arming interdependencies,” but “encourages de-risking that not decoupling” – a term he used to refer to how The EU should approach its economic relations with China.
China has already pushed back the first of the G7 discussions, with its Foreign Ministry on Thursday posting a more than 5,000-word document on its website that reaches back as far as 1960s Cuba to teach what was described these examples of “America’s Coercive Diplomacy and Its. Damage.”
“The US often accuses other countries of using its great power status, coercive policies and economic pressure to pressure other countries into submission and engage in coercive diplomacy,” the spokesman said. Foreign Ministry Wang Wenbin at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Friday.
“The truth is, the US is the origin of coercive diplomacy. The US and the US alone own the copyrights of coercive diplomacy,” he said, adding that China “has no taste for coercion and bullying.”
Climate change is also a major theme at this weekend’s gathering with a joint communique including a pledge that the G7 will push for an economic transition to clean energy.
“We are committed to realizing the transformation of the economic and social system towards a net-zero, circular, climate-resilient, pollution-free and nature-positive economy,” the communique read.
The leaders also signaled that they will closely monitor the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI), by advancing discussions on AI governance and interoperability in line with “shared democratic values.”
Biden balanced his talks with the world leader with updates from the US debt ceiling standoff in Washington – a “subject of interest” in the president’s summit meetings, according to Biden’s national security adviser. Jake Sullivan.
“The countries want to know how these negotiations will work. And the president expressed confidence that he believes we can drive to a result where we can avoid default, and that’s part of the reason he’s going back home tomorrow, rather than continuing with others on the trip, so he can help lead the effort to bring it home,” Sullivan said.
Speaking to reporters as he met with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Japan, Biden said he was not worried “at all” about negotiations with House Republicans to avoid a default.
“It comes in stages. I’ve been in these negotiations before,” Biden said.
Biden, who left a dinner with leaders early Friday to return to his hotel to receive more information from staff, received continuous updates on negotiations underway in Washington.