Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy presented a plea for support against Russia’s invasion to the Group of Seven (G7) summit on Saturday in Japan, where leaders agreed to tighten sanctions against Moscow and reduce exposure to China.
G7 leaders – the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada – are grappling with challenges posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and tensions with China, particularly over economic security and Taiwan, the self-governing island that Beijing claims be your territory.
Concerned about the outsized role China plays in supply chains from semiconductors to critical minerals, the G7 issued a communiqué that set out a common strategy for future negotiations with the world’s second-largest economy.
“We call on China to put pressure on Russia to stop its military aggression and immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw its troops from Ukraine,” the leaders said in a statement.
They warned that countries that try to use trade as a weapon would face “consequences”, sending a strong signal to Beijing about practices that Washington says amount to economic intimidation.
“We are not decoupling or turning inward. At the same time, we recognize that economic resilience requires risk reduction and diversification,” they said. “A growing China that follows international rules would be in the global interest.”
‘MEETINGS WITH FRIENDS’
The statement was issued shortly after Zelenskiy landed in Japan on a French government aircraft.
Moments later, he posted on social media: “Japan. G7. Important meetings with Ukraine’s partners and friends.”
Zelenskiy was expected to meet the G7 leaders one-on-one overnight on Saturday. It started with the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, followed by the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
French and other European officials said it was crucial that Zelenskiy go in person first to the Arab League, which he addressed on Friday, and now to the G7, also attended by members of the Global South, a term for some low-income countries and average, including India and Brazil.
Zelenskiy could describe Ukraine’s view as the victim of an attack from Russia and how he sees a future peace deal for the disparate groups, officials said.
“We have to use all means to bind non-aligned states to the cause of defending Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” a French presidential official told reporters.
In addition to bilateral meetings with G7 leaders, Zelenskiy may also have meetings with the leaders of India and Brazil, two countries that have not distanced themselves from Moscow. With Russia, China and South Africa, they form the BRICS group.
Zelenskiy is due to hold a session on Sunday with the G7 ahead of a broader meeting with participants from the Global South.
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