Maintain a united front to withstand growing strain on international order

It is significant that the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations have confirmed their unity at a time when the international order is being shaken. They should continue to support Ukraine, which has been invaded by Russia.

The G7 foreign ministers’ meeting was held in Germany. Their joint statement called on Russia to immediately withdraw from Ukraine. It also incorporated a policy to help Ukraine defend and repair infrastructure facilities exposed to Russian attacks.

This is the fifth in-person meeting of G7 foreign ministers this year, and the 10th if online sessions are included. This is unusually frequent.

The U.N. Security Council has been dysfunctional due to the selfish actions of China and Russia, which are both permanent members of the council.

It is important for the G7 to act jointly to help Ukraine and other developing countries facing food crises. Ukraine’s grain is just barely being exported via the Black Sea and that is only because of the international community’s concerted efforts to press Russia.

Each G7 member state is also plagued by issues of energy procurement and soaring prices. Many have pointed out that there is widespread support fatigue for Ukraine.

There was speculation that in Italy the right-wing coalition government that took power last month would renew its hard-line stance against Russia. And, as historic inflation continues in Britain, the country had just changed its prime minister.

In order not to give Russia even the smallest chance, it is essential for the G7 nations to stay in step with one another.

Russia is said to have taken out more than 30% of Ukraine’s power generation capacity by attacking infrastructure facilities. It is timely that the G7 foreign ministers agreed to send power generators and heaters to Ukraine.

Kenya and Ghana attended the foreign ministers’ meeting and appealed for food aid.

An agreement on grain exports among parties including Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations will expire on Nov. 19. The countries concerned need to increase their efforts to urge Russia to renew the agreement.

The joint statement also made clear that the G7 “strongly opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion” in regard to China.

In recent years, Europe, too, is said to have become more vigilant toward China. However, as Europe’s economy is cooling, China is dangling economic cooperation and trying to move closer.

China has been staging military exercises around Taiwan, also threatening Japan’s territories and territorial waters. It is important for the government to persistently call on the G7 countries to take note of how China’s aggressive maritime expansion is destabilizing the region.

The G7 summit meeting will be held in Hiroshima City in May. As the international situation becomes more complicated, Japan’s diplomatic skills as the host country will be put to the test.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 7, 2022)