KARUIZAWA (Japan) - Top diplomats from Europe, North America and Asia arrived in this hot springs resort town on Sunday to discuss some of the world's most difficult crises. They discussed ways to end Russia’s war in Ukraine and confront China’s aggression towards Taiwan, as well as how to bring North Korea back into nuclear disarmament discussions.
The two countries will get right into it, hosting a private dinner on Sunday that will focus on China and North Korea. Even before the Group of Seven Foreign Ministers' meetings began, events outside the talks threatened to overshadow diplomacy. These included questions about U.S. Intelligence leaks which cast doubt on crucial alliances and security concerns after someone threw a bomb at the Japanese leader while he was attending a campaign event.
Japan wants to make the most of a G-7 that runs smoothly, including a number of meetings on climate change, finance, and other topics, ahead of next month's leaders summit in Hiroshima. This will allow it to present a united front against what Tokyo, and other democracies, see as Russian aggression, Chinese aggression, and North Korean aggressiveness.
Many will be interested to see what the G-7 ministers of Japan, United States, United Kingdom, France Germany Canada, Italy, and the European Union do.
Karuizawa is under tight security, but Japan must address safety concerns following the explosive device thrown by a young person toward Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishhida just before the arrival of diplomats. Kishida, who was not injured in the incident on Saturday, continued his campaign. However the attack is a negative development for Tokyo as it continues to debate security following the murder of former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe nine months earlier.
Kishida, a reporter, said Sunday that 'we have to start with the summit and make every effort to guarantee security and safety... as dignitaries gather from around the world.'
The three-day meeting will also be the first test for the Biden administration that claims there was minimal damage caused by the release of highly classified documents relating to the war in Ukraine, and the U.S. view of its partners and allies.
Before leaving for Japan, U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken told reporters in Hanoi on Saturday that he has not heard any concerns from his allies. However, these revelations are likely to dominate the G-7 summit, the first international diplomatic meeting since the documents have been discovered and made public.
The talks that end on Tuesday will be dominated with concerns over Russia's threat to use nuclear weapons tactically as his forces fight in Ukraine, China’s growing belligerence towards Taiwan, a self-governing island Beijing claims for itself, and North Korea’s record-breaking run of illicit weapon tests.
Observers expect Japan and other countries to use the G-7 summit to announce a boost in aid for Ukraine.
Yoshimasa Haiashi, Japanese Foreign Minister, said that the world community was at a historical turning point as a result of Russia's invasion in Ukraine. I will chair the meeting, and demonstrate the G-7’s determination to reject any attempts to change status quo through force and Russia’s threat or use of nuclear weapons, while defending rules-based order.
Although there won't any diplomats from Beijing in Japan, China’s rapid military growth will be a major topic of discussion.
China has sent planes and vessels to simulate an encirclement around Taiwan. Its leader, Xi Jinping is also making more comments about the impending conflict.
In response to China's growth, Japan has made a significant break from the self-defense only post-World War II principle, and is now working to acquire cruise missiles and preemptive strike capability to counter increasing threats.
Diplomats are also looking for ways to restart diplomacy to pressurize a hostile North Korea into returning to disarmament talks. Since last year, North Korea tested around 100 missiles. These included intercontinental missiles with the capability to reach the U.S. continental territory and a variety other shorter-range missiles that threaten South Korea, Japan, and South Korea.