G-7 Latest: Leaders Focus on Russia’s War, Reducing China Risks

(Bloomberg) -- The leaders of the Group of Seven were joined by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as they reaffirmed their resolve to back his nation and seek support from middle powers such as India and Brazil, which have taken more neutral positions on Russia’s war.

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China and Russia — both uninvited — have loomed large as the formal meetings of leaders from the seven wealthy democracies ended Sunday. Host Japan invited guests from developing nations as the group tried to reach out to the Global South, while also looking to decrease its exposure to Beijing in supply chains for crucial materials needed to power their economies.

While Russia has threatened to use atomic bombs against its neighbor, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said there were no winners in a nuclear war as he gave closing remarks at a park built on the ground zero site from the attack on Hiroshima in 1945 that left about 140,000 people dead. Zelenskiy toured a museum in the park dedicated to the bombing and said the images of the city in ruins reminded him of the besieged Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.

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(All times JST)

Biden Says US-China Relations Set to Improve (7:59 p.m.)

US President Joe Biden said he expected ties with China to improve “very shortly” after a spat over an alleged spy balloon earlier this year,

Speaking to reporters at the conclusion of the G-7, Biden said the US’s move to shoot down a “silly balloon that was carrying two freight cars worth of spying equipment” undermined goodwill generated from his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in November last year.

Biden Says US-China Relations Set to Improve ‘Very Shortly’

Zelenskiy Rebuffs Russia Claims on Bakhmut (7:38 p.m.)

Zelenskiy downplayed Russian claims to have occupied Bakhmut after suggesting earlier in the day his country had lost control of the eastern city that had seen months of fierce fighting. He also said Russian losses there were enormous.

Ukraine Leader, Brazil’s Lula Don’t Meet (7:20 p.m.)

Zelenskiy and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil scrapped plans to meet for one-on-one talks at the G-7. Although they had been expected to meet on the sidelines, the reasons for the change were unclear.

The unannounced attendance of the Ukrainian president had unnerved the Brazilian delegation, according to Brazilian officials, with some in the delegation saying the presence of Zelenskiy was a “trap” to force a meeting. As opposed to G-7 countries, Brazil has taken a more neutral stance on the war in Ukraine, arguing at times Zelenskiy, the US and European countries shared blame for Russia’s invasion.

Zelenskiy’s Surprise G-7 Stop Unnerves Critical Brazilian Leader

Zelenskiy Tours Hiroshima Bombing Museum (6:00 p.m.)

The Ukrainian leader finished a day of meeting leaders with a visit to museum that recounts the destruction caused on Hiroshima from the atomic bomb dropped by US forces. He was accompanied by Kishida as they offered flowers at a memorial site to the victims.

Kishida Says Summit Helped Denuclearization (2:56 p.m.)

Kishida, who hosted the event held in his hometown, said in closing remarks at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park that the G-7 meeting reaffirmed the group’s desire to live in a world without nuclear weapons. It was important to prevent sanctions evasion and close loopholes that have allowed cash to flow to the Kremlin, he added.

The Japanese prime minister said Zelenskiy’s appearance at the summit helped send a strong message about the situation in Ukraine, and the group will work for a fair and lasting peace to end the war.

Meloni and Trudeau Spar on LGBTQ Rights (12:17 p.m.)

The prime ministers of Italy and Canada took potshots at each other over LGBTQ rights, an unusual display of open disagreement between G-7 leaders.

The spat started on Friday when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticized Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in front of television cameras ahead of closed-door talks.

Meloni and Trudeau Spar on LGBTQ Rights in Unusual G-7 Disunity

Macron Says G-7 Offers Chances to Speak to India, Brazil (10:16 a.m.)

French President Emmanuel Macron said the G-7 meeting was a good opportunity to speak with the leaders of India and Brazil about Ukraine. India has been one of the prime buyers of Russian oil and weapons, providing hard currency to Vladimir Putin’s government at a time when the G-7 is seeking to starve it of funds.

Scholz Says US to Make Call on F-16s (9:45 a.m.)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told reporters it was a US decision to make on what would happen with F-16s after training is done for Ukrainian pilots to fly the fighter jets. US President Joe Biden has dropped his reluctance on sending F-16s to Ukraine after months of pressure from Kyiv and allied governments, announcing Washington would support efforts to train Ukrainian pilots.

“The decision about the actual sending of F-16s will come at a much later point,” Scholz told reporters.

In a separate interview, Scholz said he was sure that even those countries that haven’t publicly supported Ukraine, like Brazil and India, realized that Russia was the aggressor in the conflict. “They know very well what’s going on,” Scholz told public broadcaster ZDF.

US Allows Ukraine to Train On F-16s as Biden Eases Reluctance

Yoon and Kishida Show Unity at Memorial (8:10 a.m.)

Yoon and Kishida laid flowers at a memorial for Korean atomic bomb victims, a display of the warming ties that have helped cooperation with their mutual US ally.

Yoon has taken steps to try to resolve disputes rooted in Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsula so that the two can work more closely with the US to stave off threats from North Korea. The joint visit is seen as a show of willingness by Kishida to acknowledge Japan’s colonial past, as well as draw attention to the horrors of nuclear war.

Yoon, Kishida Show Unity at Memorial for Korean A-bomb Victims

Leaders Lay Wreaths at Bombing Memorial (9:00 a.m.)

Kishida and leaders from countries invited to join the G-7 meeting laid wreaths at the monument to remember the victims of the US atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima, which killed about 140,000 people and led to the end of World War II.

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