Leaders of the world’s most powerful democracy gathered in Hiroshima, Japan for the G7 summit to address a host of urgent global concerns, focusing on nuclear armaments ahead of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s arrival late Saturday. Zelensky’s decision to attend the G7 in person came from his “strong desire” to participate in talks affecting the country’s defense against Russia. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Presidents Joe Biden and Zelensky will meet at the summit a day after President Biden announced his support for training Ukrainian pilots in U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets. The focus on Asia comes as leaders step up sanctions aimed at punishing Russia and changing course on its 15-month invasion of Ukraine.
Facing the act of balancing China, the world’s second-largest economy, is at the center of many concerns. Beijing, which is steadily ramping up its nuclear bomb program, may seek to take over Taiwan by force, sparking a wider conflict. In a statement, G7 leaders warned that China’s “accelerated nuclear buildup without transparency[or]meaningful dialogue raises concerns about global and regional stability.” North Korea, which is conducting missile tests at a breakneck pace to complete its nuclear program targeting the US mainland, must abandon its nuclear bomb ambitions altogether, leaders said.
The green light for F-16 training is the latest shift by the Biden administration in a move to arm Ukraine with more advanced and lethal weapons, following earlier decisions to send rocket launcher systems and Abrams tanks. “The time has come for us to look forward again and consider what Ukraine needs as part of its future military capabilities to deter and defend against future Russian aggression,” Sullivan said. Zelensky will attend two separate meetings at the G7 summit. The first session will be exclusively for G7 members and will focus on the war in Ukraine. The second meeting will include the G7 as well as other countries invited to the summit and will focus on “peace and stability”.
G7 leaders will use the summit to roll out a new wave of global sanctions against Moscow, as well as boost the effectiveness of existing fiscal sanctions aimed at curbing President Vladimir Putin’s war effort. “Our support for Ukraine is unwavering,” G7 leaders said in a statement after the closed-door meeting. The latest sanctions include tightening restrictions on persons and companies involved in the already sanctioned war effort. More than 125 individuals and entities in 20 countries are subject to US sanctions.
Leaders also discussed efforts to strengthen the global economy and deal with rising prices that are putting pressure on households and government budgets around the world. US officials said leaders will release a joint communiqué on Saturday outlining new projects in the G7’s global infrastructure development initiative aimed at providing countries with an alternative to China’s investment dollars.
The G7 includes Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, and the European Union.