US President Biden and Japan’s Kishida Seek Closer Cooperation against China and Russia at Hiroshima Talks Ahead of G7 Summit

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US President Joe Biden and Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held crucial discussions in the historically significant city of Hiroshima on Thursday. Their aim was to strengthen cooperation in the face of perceived threats from an increasingly dominant China and an unpredictable Russia, which both pose challenges to the established post-war order. The meeting took place ahead of the three-day Group of Seven (G7) summit, set to commence on Friday in Hiroshima, the city that endured the devastating impact of the first atomic bomb. The G7 members, comprising Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Canada, the US, and Japan, have expressed mounting concerns over China’s economically coercive policies and its rapid advancements in sensitive technologies. Additionally, Russia’s repeated nuclear threats have heightened worries among the G7 nations.

However, addressing these issues directly has proven to be a complex task, according to private discussions among G7 officials, primarily due to the West’s extensive reliance on China as a crucial trading partner and, in some cases, a manufacturing base. Following his hour-long meeting with Biden, PM Kishida emphasized the pivotal moment faced by the international community. The G7 summit provides an opportunity for its members to demonstrate their commitment to upholding “a free and open international order based on the rule of law,” a statement seemingly directed at both Russia and China. Despite Japan’s historical dependence on Russian oil, it has aligned itself with G7 sanctions against Moscow in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Japanese concerns have grown further, with fears that China may be emboldened to take action against Taiwan, a neighboring self-governed territory, if Russia’s aggression goes unchecked. During the G7 summit, efforts will be made to strengthen sanctions on Russia and prevent it from circumventing existing measures. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated on Thursday that the G7 would work towards tightening sanctions, while US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan mentioned a forthcoming package of sanctions associated with a G7 statement focused on enforcing penalties against Russia. PM Kishida affirmed later that he and President Biden had agreed to maintain “strict sanctions against Russia” and provide strong support for Ukraine.

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