The G7 closes its summit in Japan with one eye on Ukraine and another on China

US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visit Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima. (Kyodo via REUTERS) (KYODO/)

There were four plates of washoku (traditional Japanese food) with a touch of modernity given by edible flowers and colors. All embedded in one nihonshu (local sake) of low alcohol content. The context could not be more appropriate, a ryokan (traditional house) founded in 1854 in the Miyajima district, very close to the center of Hiroshima. The dinner for the leaders of the seven greatest powers on the planet at this G7 summit hosted by Japan could not be more traditional and diverse at the same time. A meeting in which attention was divided between the two great Western concerns: the behavior of its great rivals, China and Russia.

The dinner, the most relaxed moment of the summit for the leaders to talk about their daily realities and concerns, focused on Artificial Intelligence, the third great topic of the moment for Humanity. When they reached a sweet ending where there was no shortage of strawberry mochis, the conclusion was that “We have to work to regulate artificial intelligence globally, it is useless to do it by country… That will be the focus of our next summit.”

Then they rested for a few hours before meeting the great special guest, the Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky, who had just harangued the Arab leaders at another summit, that of the Arab League, in Jeddah. They were in their own story. They received back and after 12 years of absence due to being suspended, the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. It was the return of the prodigal son for those Arab leaders. For the rest of the world it was just a welcome with open arms from the man who sacrificed an entire generation of Syrians to stay in power, in a civil war with almost half a million deaths in which he sent his army to commit some of the worst crimes humanity has seen. Zelensky, who is fighting alongside his people to free themselves from the invading force sent by Vladimir Putin, had no qualms about telling them to their faces that “Some countries turn a blind eye to the Russian invasion.” Also to the atrocities that are committed in their registration area.

The negotiating table at the g7 summit held this weekend in Hiroshima, Japan.  (Japan Foreign Ministry via Reuters)
The negotiating table at the g7 summit held this weekend in Hiroshima, Japan. (Japan Foreign Ministry via Reuters) (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of J/)

Already in Hiroshima – paradoxically the land devastated by the atomic bomb – Zelensky found an audience of powerful friends who awaited him with a barrage of new proposals to punish the Moscow regime. “We will deprive Russia of the G7 technology, industrial equipment and services that support its war machine”the leaders said in a statement. This includes measures to plug “third-country loopholes that have allowed Russia – whose economy has been surprisingly resilient – to at least partially circumvent a series of previous sanctions” imposed by the G7 and its partners. “We reiterate our call on third parties to immediately stop providing material support to Russian aggression, or will face severe penaltiesthey said. Probably got itchy ears Lula da Silvathe brazilian president Narendra Modithe Indian prime minister, who were listening from the neighboring room, reserved for special guests at this summit.

Great Britain reported that it was applying a ban on Russian diamonds, copper, aluminum and nickel. But this comes with controversy. Belgium is opposed to this being a common policy for the whole of Europe. The diamond thing makes them noisy. The Belgians manage the largest market for these stones in the world and do not want to stop making good profits on an export that it gives Russia 4 billion dollars a year. They are the cracks that occur when the speech is fought with the pocket. And in Europe, with the sanctions against Russia, there are many who are turning a blind eye.

The United States launched a new package of restrictions aimed at undermining Russia’s energy sector and arms acquisition already go after anyone caught stealing Ukrainian grain or helping to deport Ukrainian children. Two Iranian shipping companies, a Beijing technology company, several Russian government officials and airlines accused of transporting personnel and equipment for the private military group Wagner are among those on the new sanctions list. low down, Joe Biden’s administration advisers admit their frustration. While they seek to punish every nook and cranny of the Russian economy, many others take advantage of businesses they can’t do. Russian airlines, including Aeroflotare held in the air by a river of pieces that flow through United Arab Emirates and Chinachanging hands, legal jurisdictions and free trade zones until ending in Russian warehouses.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during the summit of Arab countries in Jeddah.  (Saudi Press Agency/via REUTERS)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during the summit of Arab countries in Jeddah. (Saudi Press Agency/via REUTERS) (SAUDI PRESS AGENCY/)

Vladyslav Vlasiukadviser to President Zelensky’s chief of staff, said in an interview with Reuters that “our allies must be bolder and refuse to pander to the Kremlin’s propaganda that increased sanctions will bring nations closer to Russia.” And he asked that the sanctions against the banks be tightened, pointing to three entities that They lend money at very low interest or directly give it away to benefit those who enroll. Those bank cards were found on thousands of soldiers killed or captured on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine. Is about gazprombankthe financial arm of the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, Tinkoff Bank and rosselkhozbank. Vlasiuk also spoke of banks of kazakhstan and Georgia that they are helping Moscow to circumvent the sanctions.

As for military aid, Washington seems to have exhausted almost all the possibilities explored by the Biden Administration to scratch the budget. It has already delivered 113,000 million dollars between equipment and financing and he faces stiff opposition from the Republican caucus in Congress that wants to end that drain. They are the representatives and senators who respond in their vast majority to donald trump and that they listen to their bases. The surveys indicate that 57% of Republicans believe that nothing more needs to be handed over to Ukraine and 52% are convinced that there, in that Eastern European country, there is no US interest to defend. Despite this, Biden pulled out a concession that doesn’t directly cost him money but helps Kyiv tremendously. He authorized third countries – Great Britain, in particular – train Ukrainian pilots to navigate strategic F16 fighter-bombers and, eventually, that European countries that have such planes in their arsenal, and want to do so, can turn them over to the Ukrainian war effort.

The other point of attention of the leaders of United States, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Canada and Italy It is its great political and economic rival: China. In the official statement, the G7 sees Beijing increasingly as a threat to economic security. But in order not to further distance this second global economy from the common agenda with the West, they launched a bridge: “Our political approaches are not designed to harm China, we do not intend to thwart China’s economic progress and developmentthey said. Although they also urged action to “reduce excessive dependencies” in critical supply chains and counter “harmful practices” in technology transfer and data disclosure.

Chinese economic and military expansionism was one of the two main concerns of the G7.  They pledged to curb Chinese threats against Taiwan.  (Chen Zhonghao/Xinhua via AP)
Chinese economic and military expansionism was one of the two main concerns of the G7. They pledged to curb Chinese threats against Taiwan. (Chen Zhonghao/Xinhua via AP) (Chen Zhonghao/)

In any case, Chinese economic expansionism is old and the world is already used to this phenomenon. What is worrying now is Beijing’s growing hostility against Taiwanwhich it considers part of its territory, and the growing military presence in the surrounding seas, affecting several countries and particularly Japan. There was even a point to the increase in the arsenal of nuclear weapons that the Chinese army is accumulating. But even at this point, there were some differences between the participants. “There is a feeling that there is a bit of a gap, perhaps, between where the Europeans are on some China-related issues and where the United States is.”explained Zack Cooperformer adviser to the United States National Security Council and member of the American Enterprise Institute. One of the main points of tension is how far to go in trying to stop a possible Chinese invasion of Taiwan, which could trigger a world war and sink the global economy. The autonomous island, which Beijing claims as its own, supplies most of the world’s most advanced computer chips, vital to the technology and defense industries. Not all European governments are convinced that it is something to which they should give priority. “The United States and Japan are going to have to convince them otherwise in order to deal with the threat more vigorously,” Cooper said.

Last week, the Japanese foreign minister, Yoshimasa Hayashi, had advanced it in a meeting with his 27 counterparts from the European Union in Sweden. “China continues and intensifies its unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force in the East and South China Seas. China is also increasing its military activities around Taiwan,” Hayashi stated. “Besides, China and Russia are strengthening their military collaboration, including joint flights of its bombers and joint naval exercises in the vicinity of Japan. In Washington they have the same perception that a new Moscow-Beijing axis is being built and that the threat is real and close.

With that bittersweet taste of the summits of the world’s richest, Hiroshima bid farewell to the leaders reminding them with large marches through the center of the city of the suffering of so many generations after the atomic bomb that fell on their ancestors and the hard memories brought by the ghosts of current wars. The mayor of the city tried to give a bath of hospitality to smooth the rough edges with a veritable banquet of okonomiyakithe most popular street food in this area of ​​Japan.

Keep reading:

Keys to the Hiroshima declaration: the G7 promised full support for Ukraine, progress in the commercial decoupling of China and warned about the tension in the Taiwan Strait

The G7 leaders demanded that the Chinese regime pressure Russia to stop its aggression against Ukraine

The G7 demanded that China cease threats against Taiwan and opposed militarization in the Asia-Pacific region.