Leading nations must play role in stabilizing global economy

If Western nations get out of step in their cooperative framework and the political situation in developing countries is destabilized, it will benefit Russia, which caused the chaos. Top priority must be placed on avoiding global economic turmoil.

A summit of the Group of Seven developed economies was held in Elmau, southern Germany. In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, G7 countries agreed to strengthen sanctions against Russia, continue aid to Ukraine and provide food aid to developing countries, among other measures.

Russia’s blockade of ports along the Black Sea has stalled exports of wheat, corn and other grains from Ukraine. The food crisis could cause starvation and riots in developing countries in the Middle East and Africa.

It is timely for the G7 to step up food aid to places such as Africa. It is hoped that the G7 will make efforts not only to secure transportation routes from Ukraine to its neighboring countries, but also to promote aid through international organizations. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed his intention for Japan to donate $200 million to international organizations.

Moscow’s claim that G7 sanctions are causing the food crisis is completely irrational. It goes without saying that the food crisis has been caused by Russia’s brutality invading Ukrainian territory.

It is true that inflation is accelerating worldwide and a mood of war weariness, or “Ukraine fatigue,” is prevailing. With such public mind in the background, France, Germany and Italy are seeking an early ceasefire. Britain, however, is among those insisting on resistance to the bitter end.

If solidarity among Western nations wavers, Russia might take advantage of such weakness. Cooperation among G7 members has never been more important than it is now.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy attended the G7 meeting online and asked for more military aid. The United States pledged to provide additional weapons. It is essential to press Russia to stop the war and withdraw its troops by providing continued support to Ukraine.

The G7 members agreed to create a new framework to promote infrastructure investment in developing countries, with China’s rise in mind. Over the next five years, they will aim to provide a total of $600 billion in investment in the public and private sectors. The move is aimed at countering China’s huge economic bloc known as the Belt and Road Initiative.

Kishida criticized China by name, saying, “The G7 needs to present measures to respond to China’s unfair and opaque development financing.” He also said Japan would invest more than $65 billion in the Indo-Pacific region.

It is important to make efforts to improve technical capabilities and develop human resources for the countries concerned.

Referring to China’s development of gas fields in the East China Sea and its intrusion into Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands as well, Kishida stressed, “We cannot accept any unilateral attempt to change the status quo by force.”

It is vital for Japan to continue making its case about China’s behavior to other countries so that they can share a sense of urgency over the security situation in Asia.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 29, 2022)