G7 foreign ministers condemn China, North Korea, Myanmar and Russia
Karuizawa, Japan, Apr 18 (EFE).- The foreign ministers of the Group of Seven on Tuesday released a joint communique in which they warned China over its regional military threats and North Korea over its missile launches, condemned Myanmar’s military junta over its violence against civilians and called for intensifying sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine.
The G7 is made up of the world’s seven-most industrialized countries Japan, Germany, Canada, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, and the meetings being held in the Japanese city of Karuizawa, as usual, included the participation of the European Union.
The foreign ministers sent a warning to China on Tuesday about its military maneuvers and expansionism in the Indo-Pacific region, and asked it to act “responsibly” to restore stability around Taiwan.
“We remind China of the need to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and abstain from threats, coercion, intimidation, or the use of force,” they said in the statement.
“We remain seriously concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas. We strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion. There is no legal basis for China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea, and we oppose China’s militarization activities in the region.”
The G7 also referred explicitly to the increase in tension and Beijing’s military maneuvers around the self-governing island of Taiwan, which China views as a rebel province, insisting again on “the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.”
Stability around Taipei is an “indispensable element in security and prosperity in the international community, and (we) call for the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues,” the statement added, also expressing the group’s support for the autonomous participation of Taiwan in international organizations.
“We reiterate our call for China to act as a responsible member of the international community,” agreed the G7 diplomacy, who recognized the importance of “engaging candidly with and expressing our concerns directly” to the country.
The group also expressed concern about reported human rights violations and abuses, including in Xinjiang and Tibet, as well as “the continued erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy rights and freedoms,” on which they called on Beijing to act in accordance with relevant Sino-British pacts.
As China pushes for influence across Southeast Asia and the South Pacific, the group also reiterated “the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is inclusive, prosperous, secure, based on the rule of law, and that protects shared principles including sovereignty, territorial integrity and peaceful resolution of disputes, fundamental freedoms and human rights.”
It also underscored its commitment to strengthening coordination among the G7 on the region, and to working with regional partners such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and reaffirmed its partnership with Pacific Island countries, reiterating “the importance of supporting their priorities and needs.”
NORTH KOREA MISSILES
The foreign ministers condemned North Korea’s “unprecedented number” of missile launches and suggested the United Nations take “further significant measures,” apparently referring to updated sanctions.
The foreign ministers pointed out that each ballistic missile test violates United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and said they, along with North Korea’s “destabilizing rhetoric regarding the use of nuclear weapons, undermine regional stability and pose a grave threat to international peace and security.”
It asked Pyongyang to refrain from carrying out further tests, and said that said such actions “must be met with a swift, united, and robust international response, including further significant measures to be taken by the UN Security Council.”
The UNSC approved its latest sanctions package, the strictest to date, in December 2017 to punish the first launches of ICBM missiles and the sixth nuclear test carried out by the regime that year.
Washington, Seoul and Tokyo have repeatedly urged the UN to approve new punishments for the increase in weapons tests (in 2022 the number of missiles launched by Pyongyang almost quadrupled compared to 2017), but their requests have fallen on deaf ears at a time marked by current rivalries with Moscow and Beijing, both with veto powers in the UNSC.
The letter also urges the regime to denuclearize in a “complete, verifiable and irreversible” manner and to accept the “repeated offers of dialogue” that it has ignored since 2020.
It also called for greater international coordination to combat the growing and increasingly sophisticated malicious cyber activities linked to Pyongyang and condemns the “systematic human rights violations” by the regime, which was urged to respect basic rights of its citizens and to guarantee humanitarian organizations’ access.