The G7 group of economically strong democracies has unequivocally called on China to comply with international rules. "We remind China of the need to uphold the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and to refrain from threats, coercion, intimidation or the use of force," said a joint statement at the conclusion of the G7 foreign ministers' meeting in Karuizawa, Japan .
At the same time, the group made it clear that they are ready to tighten sanctions against Russia because of the war of aggression against Ukraine.
"We remain committed to stepping up sanctions against Russia," the statement said. They will also "intensify coordination to prevent third-party arms deliveries to Russia." Action would be taken against those who materially support Russia's war against Ukraine. Once again, the Round of Seven called on Russia to withdraw immediately and unconditionally from the neighboring country. Ukraine will be supported "as long as necessary" in its defense against the aggressor.
The G7 also condemned "Russia's irresponsible nuclear rhetoric and its threat to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus". The final declaration warns: "Any use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by Russia would have serious consequences."
At the same time, the G7 recalled how important it was that nuclear weapons had not been used since 1945. Japan is the only country on which atomic bombs were dropped during the war. In 1945, the Americans dropped an atomic bomb on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki - the explosions were devastating and cost countless lives.
In addition to Germany and Japan, the group of seven also includes France, Italy, Canada, the USA and Great Britain. Japan currently holds the presidency. The meeting in the holiday resort of Karuizawa also served to prepare for the G7 summit of heads of state and government in Hiroshima in May, to which Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) will travel. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens), who represented Germany in Karuizawa, traveled back to Berlin after the consultations were over. After China and South Korea, Japan was the last stop on a six-day trip to Asia.
Japan's Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, as the host, expressed his satisfaction with the results of the G7 meeting. It was "a great success" as it "confirmed our firm opposition to attempts to change the status quo," Hayashi said against the background of Russia's war against Ukraine and China's drive for power.
The most important decisions of the G7 foreign ministers:
China - criticism of militarization
The foreign ministers expressed clear criticism of Beijing's actions. "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." Peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are indispensable elements for the security and prosperity of the international community. "We firmly reject all unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion." China regards Taiwan as part of the People's Republic and threatens to conquer the democratic island republic.
There were also clear words on human rights: people were concerned about human rights violations in Tibet and Xinjiang. China's central government has long been accused of the systematic repression of Muslim Uyghurs in western Xinjiang province.
Despite the criticism, the G7 countries want to work with China on global challenges such as climate change. They are willing to "build constructive and stable relations through dialogue and promote global economic recovery and people-to-people exchanges in a mutually beneficial manner," the statement said.
Russia - prevent arms deliveries from third parties
The G7 countries expressed their determination to tighten sanctions against Russia. China was not named, but it was said that "coordination would be strengthened to prevent third-party arms deliveries to Russia". Measures will be taken against those who provide material support to Russia's war against Ukraine. Any solution to the conflict must ensure that Russia pays for the damage it has caused itself. There should be no impunity for war crimes and other atrocities such as attacks on civilians and critical civilian infrastructure.
Nuclear Weapons - Concern about Russia and China's conduct
The G7 reaffirmed their commitment to a world without nuclear weapons. There are concerns about Russia's willingness to conduct nuclear tests and suspend participation in the "New Start" agreement. This agreement limits the nuclear arsenals of the US and Russia.
The G7 is concerned about "the ongoing and accelerated expansion of China's nuclear arsenal and the development of ever more sophisticated delivery systems." China was urged to "promptly engage in talks with the US on reducing strategic risk and promoting stability through greater transparency of China's nuclear weapons policy, plans and capabilities."
Afghanistan - Massive violations of women's rights
The actions of the militant Islamist Taliban in Afghanistan were also criticized. "We reject in the strongest possible terms the increasing restrictions on human rights and fundamental freedoms imposed by the Taliban," the final statement said. "In particular, we condemn the Taliban's systematic violations of the human rights of women and girls and discrimination against members of religious and ethnic minorities."