Kishida hails G7 summit as a success

The G7 summit has concluded in Hiroshima with leaders welcoming Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and reaffirming their support for Ukraine. Japan's Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, who chaired the summit, is hailing it as a success.

G7 leaders announced new sanctions and export controls against Russia during the three-day meeting.

In the summit's closing speech on Sunday, Kishida said leaders demonstrated their determination to protect the international order.

Kishida at closing speech
Japan's Prime Minister Kishida delivers the closing speech at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on May 21.

Kishida also said the global economy is facing serious challenges as Russia's invasion drags on, including inflation and shortages of food and energy.

On China, Kishida said, "The G7 leaders agreed on the importance of holding frank dialogue to directly deliver our concerns as well as the need to work with China to address global challenges."

He said the G7 will work with other nations to increase economic resilience and security by strengthening supply chains and infrastructure.

The G7 leaders also vowed to aim for a world without nuclear weapons and issued the Hiroshima Vision statement on nuclear disarmament.

Kishida noted that G7 leaders had welcomed Japan's action plan for achieving this goal and agreed to make efforts based on the Hiroshima Vision statement.

The G7 leaders held talks aimed at boosting engagement with the emerging and developing nations collectively known as the Global South, reaffirming to work together on issues they face such as food and economic security.

G7 leaders held extended meetings with non-member leaders during the three-day-summit.

Zelenskyy's appearance makes G7 summit more significant

The following commentary is by Professor Hikotani Takako, an expert on Japanese politics and foreign policy at Gakushuin University.

The G7 summit was a great success for Prime Minister Kishida Fumio, who is committed to promoting nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear disarmament. Hosting the summit in Hiroshima with not only G7 leaders present but also other global partners was very important for him and Japan.

Hikotani Takako, a professor at Tokyo's Gakushuin University, speaks on Newsline Asia 24.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's surprise appearance at the summit was a show-stealer that perhaps overshadowed other agendas countries wanted to focus on, including Indo-Pacific issues. But his participation made Hiroshima's experience a more urgent concern.

Kishida and his staff should be proud of their success. What they can do going forward is to make sure the promises made at the G7 summit are kept. And if there is domestic discontent with how much the summit focused on nuclear disarmament, perhaps that's something Kishida can work on.

Biden: Leaders reaffirmed support for Ukraine

US President Joe Biden says the G7 leaders reaffirmed a "shared and unwavering commitment" to support Ukraine against Russia's invasion.

He said on Sunday the G7 countries will continue to "stand with the brave people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against Russia's brutal war of aggression and war crimes."

Biden at news conference in Hiroshima
US President Biden speaks at a news conference on May 21 following the end of the G7 summit in Hiroshima.

He stressed that the United States will launch new efforts with its partners to begin training "Ukrainian pilots in fourth-generation fighter aircraft, including F-16s, to strengthen Ukraine's air force as part of a long-term commitment to Ukraine's ability to defend itself."

Referring to his stay in Hiroshima City, Biden vowed to never cease efforts to build peace, and to continue to work to realize a world without the threat of nuclear weapons.

He also touched on the G7's approach to China, saying, "We're not looking to decouple from China. We're looking to de-risk and diversify our relationship with China."

Regarding the US's frosty relationship with Beijing, Biden said, "I think you're going to see that begin to thaw very shortly."

People in Kyiv welcome US military support

Kyiv residents are welcoming Biden's offer of additional military support as well as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's participation in the G7 summit.

A woman in her 30s says Ukraine needs protection and must reclaim its lost territory. She says she hopes F-16 fighter jets will be supplied to Ukraine soon as Russia's military has stepped up its aggression.

Kyiv residents welcome additional US military support for Ukraine.

Another resident in his 30s says the US's proposal is something he has been waiting for. He says that F-16s will shoot down missiles flying toward Kyiv and boost Ukraine's air defense capabilities.

He also says he is glad Zelenskyy is traveling around the world requesting support from other countries.

A resident in her 20s adds that the G7 summit was a great opportunity to show what is happening in Ukraine.

China summons Japanese envoy to protest G7 actions

The G7 Hiroshima Leaders' Communique, released on Saturday, notes the group's concerns over China's behavior in the Indo-Pacific region.

The communique states, "We remain seriously concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas. We strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion."

It continues, "We reaffirm the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait... We call for a peaceful resolution of Cross-Strait issues."

China's foreign ministry says Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong summoned the Japanese ambassador to lodge a protest over the China-related references.

Sun on Sunday told Tarumi that Japan, as the host nation, colluded with other countries in smearing and attacking China and grossly interfering in its internal affairs.

Sun stressed that the move undermines China's sovereignty, security and development interests, and expressed China's strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition.

Japan's embassy in Beijing says Tarumi replied that it is normal for the G7 to refer to its shared concerns and it will continue to do so unless China changes its behavior. Tarumi added that China should start acting in a positive manner.

China views G7 communique as a 'compromise'

The following commentary is by NHK World's former Beijing correspondent Makita Naoki.

It's no surprise that Beijing has fiercely criticized the G7 leaders' communique, which highlights their unified opposition to China's "economic coercion."

The G7 statement pledged to counter malicious practices to protect global supply chains from illegitimate influence, espionage and leakage of illicit knowledge.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded by calling the US "the real coercer that politicizes and weaponizes economic and trade relations." It accused the US of enacting unilateral sanctions and carrying out acts of decoupling against China.

But while the G7 leaders prioritized "de-risking" their economic relations with China in Hiroshima, they ruled out a decoupling. They also said their policy approaches are not designed to harm China.

Beijing may therefore view the relevant wording in the communique as weaker than what the US originally intended.

In an editorial, the Communist Party-affiliated Global Times said these "conciliatory" statements are a "compromise" that Washington had to make due to "differences in how the US and Europe deal with China issues."

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday that G7 nations will ensure big investments in China continue even as they pare risky exposure to the world's second-largest economy.

China appears to be focusing on creating distance between Europe and the US as Beijing's relations with Washington and Tokyo worsen.

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang visited European countries ahead of the G7 summit, including France, Germany and Norway. China also dispatched a special peace envoy to Ukraine and Russia to mediate the conflict.

Beijing's moves were seen as a charm offensive to persuade the Europeans not to simply follow Washington's lead.

China's approach was highlighted by the red-carpet treatment French President Emmanuel Macron received in Beijing last month.

Some experts say even though G7 leaders showcased an image of unity on China-related issues, it will be a huge challenge for them to turn their commitments into action.

Still, Washington's efforts to diversify its supply chains away from China and to protect advanced technologies by imposing a high-end chip ban and pressuring its allies to follow suit are a heavy blow for Beijing.

China is also frustrated that G7 leaders reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, making clear it's an issue of international concern rather than a Chinese domestic matter.

But both Washington and Beijing have recently expressed interest in mending ties, which deteriorated over the flight of an alleged Chinese spy balloon across the United States in February.

US President Joe Biden said on Sunday that he expects a thaw in the frosty relations with China "shortly" as American officials have discussed meeting their Chinese counterparts.

So despite the latest volleys of harsh words over the G7 statement, the focus now is on whether the two countries can find common ground to prevent ties from crumbling further.