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G7 Nations Identify China, North Korea and Russia as Threats to Global Economic Security

G7 leaders gathering in Italy have reiterated warnings about the threat to the rules-based international system posed by the three nations and by Iran.



G7 leaders stand together for a family photo in Apulia, Italy. (Courtesy of the Italian government G7 website.)

APULIA ー Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida used his trip to the G7 Summit in Italy to highlight increased military cooperation between Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un as a serious threat to international security.

There are allegations that Pyongyang has transferred ballistic missiles to Moscow. Use of the missiles in Russia's war against Ukraine is in direct violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Other countries are also alarmed by signs that Vladimir Putin is about to travel to North Korea. On Friday, June 14, there was an urgent call between South Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Hong Kyun and US National Secretary Advisor Kurt Campbell. Specifically, they discussed the rumored forthcoming trip. 

"While closely monitoring related developments, [South Korea and the US] agreed to resolutely respond through airtight cooperation to North Korea's provocations against South Korea and actions that escalate tensions in the region," said Seoul's Foreign Ministry.

The G7 held its further session on Indo-Pacific and economic security session in the town of Bari on June 14. (Courtesy of the Italian government G7 website.)

Tensions from China and Russia

On Friday, the US president Joe Biden held talks with the summit's host, the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.  

They agreed to try to increase the pressure on Russia. Later, a clause to this effect was also included in the draft final communique of the summit. The G7 leaders also promised sanctions against "entities" helping Russia circumvent sanctions on its oil. 

PM Kishida led a session on the Indo-Pacific and economic security in Bari. At the outset, he reaffirmed that "Security of the Indo-Pacific region and Europe is inseparable." Additionally, the foreign ministry reported Kishida's emphasis on how Indo-Pacific and economic security are strategically important for the G7 to continue leading the international community.

"The situation in the Indo-Pacific continues to be tense," said one Japanese diplomat who was at the talks. "We continue to oppose the unilateral use of force to change the status quo, and reiterate the importance of FOIP (Free and Open Indo-Pacific)," she added. 

Also, the meeting was an opportunity for the leaders to "reach an understanding where we are all on the same page with regards to the Indo-Pacific," the official continued. During the Friday session, the G7 leaders confirmed that they will work together closely to grapple with matters concerning the Indo-Pacific. 

Preceding the session, US Ambassador to Tokyo Rahm Emmanuel called for closer alignment between Japan and the United States in addressing multiple threats to regional security. Specifically, he referred to the urgent issue for Japan of China's support for Russia. 

In a joint statement, the G7 leaders said: "China's ongoing support for Russia's defense industrial base is enabling Russia to maintain its illegal war in Ukraine, and has significant and broad-based security implications."

New EVs are lined up at the port of Xiamen, China. (©Xinhua News Agency/Kyodo)

Iran's Nefarious Ambitions

Additionally, the G7 leaders warned they would take "significant measures" if Iran were to step up its military support for Russia.

"We call on Iran to stop assisting Russia's war in Ukraine and not to transfer ballistic missiles and related technology, as this would represent a substantive material escalation and a direct threat to European security," they said.

The leaders also urged Iran "to cease and reverse nuclear escalations, and stop the continuing uranium enrichment activities that have no credible civilian justifications."

The rebuke comes after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)  said that Iran has been working on methods to enrich uranium taking it towards weapons-grade levels.

Economic Stability

The summit in Italy also considered economic issues which have caused problems for G7 countries. One example was the "long-term threat" resulting from overproduction and the export of excess industrial capacity. Japan, the US, and the EU view cheap exports of Chinese goods as unbalancing global trade. China's subbsidized electric vehicles, or EVs, are a current example. The issue applies to any country, however, one Japanese official told JAPAN Forward.

Finally, the G7 leaders decided to be firm in their language on China in their final communiqué. "The era of naivety towards Beijing is definitely gone now. And China is to blame for that, honestly," another diplomat told the Financial Times.

The draft summit statement was reviewed by Reuters. It stressed the G7 was not trying to harm China or thwart its economic development. However, it would "continue to take actions to protect our businesses from unfair practices, to level the playing field and remedy ongoing harm."

Social Division

The summit also revealed some differences in perspectives on social issues between the leaders of the G7 nations. The leaders made no direct reference to abortion in their final communique. That was apparently at the request of the Italian hosts.

Also, the draft seemed less strong on asserting LGBTQ rights compared to the statement issued at the leaders' previous meeting in Japan. 


Authors: Duncan Bartlett, Diplomatic Correspondent, with Arielle Busetto on location in Apulia