Channel Members’ Unity into Concrete Action

If China and Russia are allowed to use their authoritarian methods, the international order based on the rule of law will collapse at its very foundation. The unity confirmed by the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven advanced nations should be steadily put into practice.

The G7 foreign ministers’ meeting was held in the town of Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture. As the chair of the G7, Japan is hosting a total of 15 ministerial-level meetings. A summit in Hiroshima City is scheduled for a month from now.

The international order has been on the brink of collapse due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is Japan’s responsibility to take the lead in efforts to restore the global order. Tokyo also needs to advance discussions on issues such as food problems.

At the foreign ministers’ meeting, the participating countries agreed to continue support for Ukraine and strengthen sanctions against Russia. The joint statement declared that some countries are supplying weapons to Russia and reiterated the call to “cease assistance to Russia’s war.” The statement apparently had Iran and other countries in mind.

In order to restore peace in Ukraine, it is important to reduce Russia’s ability to wage war.

The foreign ministers also confirmed their intention to strengthen cooperation with the so-called Global South, developing countries and emerging economies that are mainly in the southern hemisphere.

Many of these emerging countries have adopted a neutral position between the West and China and Russia. However, if Russia’s outrageous actions are overlooked, the safety of emerging countries themselves could also be threatened. It is vital for the G7 countries to persistently persuade emerging countries.

At the foreign ministers’ meeting, attention was focused on France’s response.

This is because French President Emmanuel Macron stated this month in regard to the Taiwan situation, “The worst thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers on this topic and take our cue from the U.S. rhythm,” indicating a stance of distancing France from the United States. His remarks came after two days of hospitality in China from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Macron may have been placing importance on economic cooperation with China, which has a huge market, but it is difficult to understand his comments because they could disrupt the close cooperation of the G7 nations.

In response to criticism from other countries, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna tried to put out the fire by saying at the Karuizawa meeting that France had “deep feelings” about peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

If a rift develops among the G7 members, it could trigger barbaric actions by China, which has publicly referred to the possibility of the armed unification of Taiwan. It is essential for advanced nations to take concerted action and stick to their firm stance of never allowing the status quo to be changed by force.

At the coming G7 summit, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida needs to directly appeal to Macron about how China’s hegemonic activities threaten the security of Asia. It is hoped that the free and open Indo-Pacific vision that Tokyo and Washington are pursuing will be extended to Europe as well.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, April 19, 2023)