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G-7 Latest: Biden Portrays Unity With Allies on Russia, China

G-7 Latest: Biden Portrays Unity With Allies on Russia, China
A banner for the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in Hiroshima, Japan, on Wednesday, May 3, 2023. Japan is scheduled to host a summit of the Group of Seven nations in Hiroshima from May 19-21. Photographer: Soichiro Koriyama/Bloomberg

US President Joe Biden and other Group of Seven leaders began arriving in the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Thursday for an annual summit, with concerns around China and Russia  — both uninvited — set to dominate discussions.

The meeting, which runs through Sunday, comes as Russia launched fresh aerial assaults on Ukraine and Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a separate summit seeking to deepen Beijing’s influence in Central Asia. Biden held talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida where they pledged to protect the rule of law and said the world was safer when the two allies stood together.

The seven countries — Japan, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the UK and US — are set to target what they see as economic coercion by Xi’s government while also introducing measures to reach out to developing nations in the Global South. Leaders from the European Union, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Vietnam, Brazil, Australia, Comoros and Cook Islands were also invited to the gathering.

Latest coverage

(All times JST)

Zelenskiy to Address G-7 Virtually on Sunday (11:17 p.m.)

Volodymyr Zelenskiy will take part remotely in a special May 21 session on Ukraine at the Group of Seven summit, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The announcement after earlier speculation that the Ukrainian president might appear in person at the event in Hiroshima. Japan added an extra session to accommodate Zelenskiy’s schedule. G-7 leaders will discuss Ukraine among themselves at a separate session on Friday.

Kishida and Biden Vow to Work Closely on — and With — China (9:34 p.m.)

Prime Minister Kishida and President Biden agreed to work closely together on China, but also underscored the importance of cooperating with China on shared challenges, Japan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The two also commended their countries’ robust consultations on US extended deterrence, referring to the “nuclear umbrella” on which Japan relies heavily for its defense.

Squabbling Macron and Meloni Expected to Meet (8:01 p.m.)

French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who have traded barbs over migration and other topics, are expected to meet on the sidelines of the summit, an Elysee official said. The encounter may end up being informal, the official said, stressing that international summits often include meetings that resemble speed dating.

The leaders of France and Italy, the second and third largest economies in the European Union respectively, have repeatedly bickered in public in recent months.

Italy and France, Old Frenemies, Are Squabbling Ahead of G-7

Kirby Says Leaders to Focus on China (7:45 p.m.)

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Biden and his G-7 counterparts will spend a considerable amount of time discussing China. “You’re going to see the G-7 leaders all speak with one voice about the challenges that China poses here in the Indo-Pacific and around the world,” he told Bloomberg Television.

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John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator says US credibility would suffer if the nation were to default. “If you allow the United States to default, vitually nothing else matters… around the world.” trib.al/IKprY44

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China Blasts US on ‘Coercive Diplomacy’ (7:21 p.m)

China fired back at G-7 members by issuing a report on the US’s “coercive diplomacy” and its harm to the world.

The official Xinhua News Agency cited the report as saying China never bullied others nor started trade wars, echoing language that the Foreign Ministry in Beijing says regularly. Earlier this month, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin blasted the G-7 as a “small clique that puts the US first.”

Scholz Says Russia Threatens Global Peace (6:45 p.m.)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz issued a warning about Russia being a threat to the world shortly after he arrived in Hiroshima, calling the Japanese city a symbol of the need to achieve peace.

“Decoupling from one single country is not a goal which anyone here pursues,” the German leader said. “At the same moment however we want to organize the global trade relations in a way that the risks are not becoming big as a result of a dependency from one country.”

Scholz said earlier this month European nations should not aim for an immediate decoupling from China, but implement a “smart de-risking.”

Biden, Kishida Hail Cooperation on Chips, Technology (6:05 p.m.)

President Biden and Japanese leader Kishida hailed greater cooperation between the two nations on emerging technology at the outset of a bilateral meeting ahead of the G-7 summit.

Kishida noted that cooperation has “evolved through leaps and bounds,” citing Micron Technology Inc.’s plan to make next-generation memory chips in Hiroshima. Biden, in return, said the nations were working on expanding cooperation in advanced technology like quantum computers and semiconductors.

“When our countries stand together, we stand stronger,” Biden said. “And I believe the whole world is safer when we do.”

Micron to Get $1.5 Billion From Japan for Next-Gen Chips 

Japan Ruling Party Submits LGBTQ Bill (5:53 pm.)

Japan’s main ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner submitted to parliament a watered-down bill on promoting understanding of the LGBTQ community. Japan is the only one of the G-7 democracies not to recognize same-sex unions or have legal protections for sexual minorities, and Kishida has come under pressure to make some progress on the issue in conjunction with the summit.

Japan Looks to Pass Watered-Down LGBTQ Bill as G-7 Looms 

Scholz, Trudeau Arrive in Hiroshima (5:20 p.m.)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Hiroshima after finishing a trip to Seoul the previous day. During his visit, South Korea’s SK Ecoplant Co. said it will invest in and help develop a $4.5 billion green hydrogen project in Canada that’s set to be one of the largest such plants in the world.

Scholz arrived shortly after Trudeau and he’s expected to go to South Korea when the G-7 summit ends.

Biden Arrives in Japan (4:10 p.m.)

Biden touched down in Japan. The US president had scrapped plans to continue on for stops in Papua New Guinea and Australia to return to debt-ceiling negotiations in the US.

UK Announces Japan Chips Partnership (2:30 p.m.)

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced £18 billion ($22.4 billion) of new investment by Japanese businesses in the UK, mostly in clean energy, as well as a bilateral “semiconductor partnership” aimed at boosting supply chain resilience amid fears over Chinese interference in Taiwan.

A “Hiroshima Accord” seeks to deepen economic, security and tech cooperation between the two countries, the British premier said as he landed in Japan ahead of the summit.

UK Announces Japan Chips Partnership as Fears Grow Over Taiwan

Corn Trades Near 18-Month Low (2:12 p.m.)

Corn traded near the lowest level since November 2021 after a two-month extension of the deal allowing Ukraine to ship crops through the Black Sea. Wheat hovered near the weakest in more than two years, while soybeans fell to the lowest since July last year.

Corn Trades Near 18-Month Low as Ukraine Export Deal Extended

China Envoy Meets Zelenskiy in Ukraine (1:40 p.m.)

Chinese Ambassador Li Hui met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as Beijing kicked off a European tour aimed at brokering peace.

Xi announced that China would send an envoy to Ukraine last month during a call with Zelenskiy. It was the first time the two leaders had spoken since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of its neighbor.

China Envoy Meets Zelenskiy in Ukraine as Europe Tour Kicks Off

Kishida Meets Chipmakers to Boost Production (12:52 p.m.)

Kishida met the heads of the world’s largest chipmakers in Japan’s latest move to boost its domestic semiconductor sector amid a global rethink of economic security.

Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida Meets Global Chip Heads
Fumio Kishida, center, with the heads of the world’s largest chipmakers. Photographer: Toru Hanai/Bloomberg

The country is pushing to bring more advanced chipmaking home as growing US-China tensions spur concerns about reliance on Taiwan, which China claims as its own. But while Japanese companies continue to control key steps in the chip supply chain, the country’s efforts have fallen far short of subsidies offered by the US.

Kishida Meets Chipmakers in Move to Bolster Japan’s Tech Sector

Russia Launches New Attacks on Kyiv (12:19 p.m.)

Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine came under another aerial attack early Thursday morning, with explosions heard in the capital as well as other regions further west.

Xi Summit to Deepen Central Asian Ties (10:24 a.m.)

China’s president will seek to deepen Beijing’s influence in Central Asia at a major summit, reminding the parallel G-7 conclave of Beijing’s sway outside the US-led world order.

The two-day China-Central Asia Summit assembles the leaders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan from Thursday in the Chinese city of Xi’an. Trade ties and regional security concerns will likely dominate talks at the inaugural in-person meeting, along with Russia’s war in Ukraine.

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