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EDITORIAL | G7 Foreign Ministers' Powerful Message Amid Chinese, Russian Aggression

The G7 foreign ministers pledge to "reinforce the free and open international order based on the rule of law." How can this be translated into concrete action?



G7 Foreign Ministers
Foreign Minister Hayashi (rear center) and other G7 foreign ministers pose while meeting in the morning of April 18. Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture. (© Kyodo)

The G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting was held in Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture on April 17-18. They issued a joint statement on the last day, pledging that members of the G7 would "uphold and reinforce the free and open international order based on the rule of law." It was the first time to make such a clear pledge.

China's ambitions to annex Taiwan and Russia's continued aggression in Ukraine were very much on everyone's mind. Therefore, it was heartening to see the foreign ministers reiterate, "We strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion." 

The joint communique appropriately emphasized, "There is no change in the basic positions of the G7 members on Taiwan." 

It also reaffirmed the "importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as an indispensable element in security and prosperity in the international community."

France, Taiwan
French President Emmanuel Macron speaks at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, April 7 (© AP via Kyodo)

Reconciling French President's Remarks on Taiwan

French President Emmanuel Macron made remarks about the Taiwan issue during his recent visit to China. Those remarks caused consternation about solidarity within the ranks of the G7. Macron's remarks included the following: "The worst thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers on this topic and take our cue from the US agenda and a Chinese overreaction."  

However, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi was reassured by his French counterpart Catherine Colonna that France was deeply committed to maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. She told him that France was firmly opposed to unilateral change of the status quo by force. She explained that Macron conveyed similar views to President Xi Jinping during his visit to China. 

If that is true, President Macron should take action to demonstrate his commitment to "peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait" at the G7 summit in Hiroshima in May.

g7 Foreign Ministers
Foreign ministers of G7 member states at Karuizawa Prince Hotel in Nagano on April 17. (© Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan)

Demand for Russia to Cease All Hostilities

Regarding Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the joint statement made the following comment. "We once again condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine." It also demanded the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine. 

Meanwhile, the G7 countries pledged to reinforce coordination to prevent third parties from shipping weapons to Russia. 


The G7 and European countries can implement sanctions against Russia. However, China and other parties could employ loopholes to help Russia to procure supplies and lethal weapons. If that happens, Moscow would be able to cause increasing damage to Ukraine through its aggression. 

The question now becomes how the contents of the joint statement can be translated into concrete action. 

Taiwan G7 foreign ministers
A Chinese newspaper posted in Beijing reports on Chinese military exercises conducted around Taiwan on April 10. (© Kyodo)

Anticipated Chinese Denunciations

Reacting to the joint statement, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson retorted that the future of Taiwan was purely a domestic issue. Moreover, Beijing would not accept any outside interference whatsoever in the matter. 

However, the key to resolving the issue remains for Beijing to renounce the use of force against Taiwan. 

The joint statement had more to say on China. It observied, "We recognize the importance of engaging candidly with and expressing our concerns directly to China." This and the fact that the G7 foreign ministers also agreed to hold regular discussions on the "free and open Indo-Pacific" concept were certainly welcome steps.

The security of the Indo-Pacific region, including Taiwan, and Europe are interlinked. We would now like Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to make this clear at the Hiroshima Summit. He must confirm with all G7 nations the importance of acting in unison to achieve peace.


(Read the editorial in Japanese.)

Author: Editorial Board, The Sankei Shimbun


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