Di­a­logue must con­tinue to mend G-7 di­vi­sions

The Nation - - OPINION & ANALYSIS - YOMI­URI-SHIMBUN

The frame­work for the Group of Seven ad­vanced na­tions, a struc­ture for sup­port­ing world pros­per­ity and sta­bil­ity, faces a cri­sis. Close di­a­logue must be con­tin­ued to mend the state of di­vi­sion among the G-7 coun­tries.

At eco­nomic dis­cus­sions at the lat­est G-7 sum­mit meet­ing in Canada, the United States came un­der a bar­rage of crit­i­cism from other mem­ber na­tions. This was be­cause the United States had uni­lat­er­ally im­posed ad­di­tional tar­iffs on steel and alu­minium im­ports from Ja­pan, the Euro­pean Union and Canada.

The EU and Canada started prepa­ra­tions to slap re­tal­ia­tory tar­iffs on im­ports of US prod­ucts.

“Just ex­chang­ing trader­e­stric­tive mea­sures will not ben­e­fit any na­tion,” Ja­pan’s Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe em­pha­sised. How­ever, the G-7 dis­cus­sions re­mained as far apart as ever.

The schism was al­ready ev­i­dent at a meet­ing of G-7 fi­nance min­is­ters and cen­tral bank gov­er­nors that had taken place be­fore the sum­mit meet­ing.

The G-7 lead­ers’ fail­ure to make mu­tual con­ces­sions at the face-to-face sum­mit talks rep­re­sents a se­ri­ous sit­u­a­tion.

The G-7 coun­tries share such val­ues as democ­racy and mar­ket economies. They have ful­filled a cer­tain role in fa­cil­i­tat­ing growth and sta­bil­is­ing the global or­der through ef­forts to tackle such prob­lems as oil crises and fi­nan­cial un­rest.

Di­vi­sions among the G-7 na­tions will in­cur large losses not only for the group but for the whole world. There is a press­ing need to re­store unity among the G-7 na­tions so they can per­form their pri­mary role.

It should be noted that there is an in­creas­ing num­ber of ar­eas in which the G-7 mem­bers can­not act in con­cert. This change seems to have been caused by the ad­vent of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who pur­sues an “Amer­ica first” pol­icy and makes light of mul­ti­lat­eral frame­works.

To make up for the G-7 group’s func­tional dis­or­der, it will be im­por­tant for its mem­ber states to recog­nise each other’s dif­fer­ences and utilise new trade talks agreed upon be­tween the United States and Euro­pean coun­tries as well as work­ing-level talks at the World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

It is re­gret­table that the G-7 meet­ing pro­duced few achieve­ments in other fields, either, as a re­sult of an­tag­o­nism be­tween the United States and the other par­tic­i­pat­ing na­tions.

China has con­tin­ued its un­fair prac­tices, in­clud­ing vi­o­lat­ing in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights. Although the lat­est sum­mit pro­vided an ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­nity for the G-7 na­tions to join hands in urg­ing China to im­prove the sit­u­a­tion, they failed to carry out ex­haus­tive dis­cus­sions.

Con­trasted with the eco­nomic dis­cus­sions in which there was only dis­cord among the G-7 na­tions, they were unan­i­mous re­gard­ing the North Korean prob­lem.

To achieve North Korea’s com­plete, ver­i­fi­able and ir­re­versible de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion, the Ja­panese prime min­is­ter said, “It is in­dis­pens­able to get North Korea to take con­crete ac­tions.” The other top lead­ers agreed.

Im­me­di­ately prior to the first US-North Korea sum­mit meet­ing in his­tory, it is greatly sig­nif­i­cant for the G-7 coun­tries to con­firm their co­op­er­a­tion and sup­port the talks.

Rus­sia’s pos­si­ble re­turn to the G- 7 group was also dis­cussed in the lat­est meet­ing. The Crimean prob­lem has caused a se­ri­ous schism in Rus­sia’s ties with the United States and Euro­pean na­tions.

If Rus­sia re­joins the G- 7 group just at a time when the re­la­tion­ship among G- 7 coun­tries re­mains frag­ile, it could only deepen the an­tag­o­nism be­tween them.

Ja­panese PM Shinzo Abe

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