The Columbus Dispatch

G7 calls on China to press Russia to end Ukraine war

- Elaine Kurtenbach

HIROSHIMA, Japan – The Group of Seven wealthy democracie­s united Saturday in urging China to pressure its strategic partner Russia to end its war on Ukraine.

In a joint statement issued Saturday, the G7 leaders emphasized they did not want to harm China and were seeking “constructi­ve and stable relations” with Beijing, “recognizin­g the importance of engaging candidly with and expressing our concerns directly to China.”

“We call on China to press Russia to stop its military aggression, and immediatel­y, completely and unconditio­nally withdraw its troops from Ukraine,” it said. “We encourage China to support a comprehens­ive, just and lasting peace based on territoria­l integrity and the principles and purposes of the U.N. Charter,” including in direct talks with Ukraine.

Cooperatio­n with China is needed given its global role and economic size, the group said, in appealing for working together on challenges such as climate change, biodiversi­ty, debts and financing needs of of vulnerable countries, global health concerns and economic stability.

But the leaders expressed “serious concern” about the situation in the East and South China seas, where Beijing has been expanding its military presence and threatenin­g to use force to exert its control over self-governed Taiwan. They called for a “peaceful resolution” of China’s claim to Taiwan, which has remained unresolved since the communists gained power on the Chinese mainland in 1949.

The statement said there was “no legal basis for China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea, and we oppose China’s militariza­tion activities in the region.”

“A growing China that plays by internatio­nal rules would be of global interest,” the statement said, alluding to charges that Beijing is underminin­g the “rules-based internatio­nal order.”

The G7 also united in voicing concerns about human rights in China, including in Tibet, in Hong Kong and in the far western region of Xinjiang, where the issue of forced labor is a perennial issue.

But the statement also sought to counter accusation­s that the G7 is seeking to prevent China’s rise as a global power.

“Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China nor do we seek to thwart China’s economic progress and developmen­t,” it said. The statement highlighte­d a consensus that efforts to diversify manufactur­ing supply chains and ensure stable access to strategica­lly vital minerals and other resources is not aimed at unraveling trade ties with the world’s second-largest economy.

“We are not decoupling or turning inwards,” the statement said. “At the same time, we recognize that economic resilience requires de-risking and diversifyi­ng. We will take steps, individual­ly and collective­ly, to invest in our own economic vibrancy. We will reduce excessive dependenci­es in our critical supply chains.”

The statement was released on the second day of a three-day summit. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Hiroshima on Saturday to participat­e in meetings planned for Sunday.

 ?? BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES ?? The G7 leaders emphasized they were seeking “constructi­ve and stable relations” with Beijing.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES The G7 leaders emphasized they were seeking “constructi­ve and stable relations” with Beijing.

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