India among invitees to G7 summit as Japan PM looks to counter China’s assertiveness

by the associated press: India is among the eight invited to the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in Hiroshima this week. The mix of countries invited by Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to attend the G7 summit is seen as an attempt to help China’s assertiveness and efforts to counter Russia’s aggression on Ukraine.

The Group of Seven (G-7) summit will be a complex, high-stakes diplomatic gambit that seeks to address some of the world’s most pressing crises.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has invited India, South Korea, Australia, Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Comoros and the Cook Islands. According to analysts, they expect this mix of countries to aid China’s assertiveness and efforts to stand up against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He also wants stronger ties with US allies and developing countries and progress toward working toward a nuclear-free world, which looks increasingly difficult amid North Korean and Russian nuclear threats.

Here’s a look at what to expect from wealthy world leaders welcoming these guest countries:

Pushback on China, Russia

As their top diplomats did last month at a meeting in Nagano, Japan, the leaders of the G-7 countries – the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and the European Union – will seek to make Taiwan A united front against Chinese threats to and Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“The G-7 is committed to maintaining the international order, and most of its members are in Europe, so supporting Ukraine against Russian aggression is a top priority,” said Leif-Erik Easley, a professor at Iwa University in Seoul.

“As a pillar of the G-7 in Asia, Japan is particularly focused on updating the international order to deal with the rise of China,” Easley said. “The Kishida government’s agenda and special invitation to the Hiroshima summit reflect an effort not to engage China but to expand an international coalition defending standards of state behavior.”

The eight guest nations have complex political and economic relations with China and Russia.

India is part of the Quad grouping of four Indo-Pacific countries including the US, Japan and Australia. China has accused the four of representing an “Asian NATO”.

On the Russia-Ukraine war, India has repeatedly abstained from voting on UN resolutions against Moscow, though it has stressed the need for diplomacy to end the war. India has also increased its imports of Russian oil.

Brazil is a member of the so-called BRICS grouping of developing countries, which includes China, Russia and India. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva recently visited China to strengthen ties with its biggest trade partner.

He has also irritated Ukraine and some in the West with his position on the war, most recently suggesting that Ukraine ceded Crimea to broker peace.

According to Kim Yeol Soo, an expert at South Korea’s Korea Institute for Military Affairs, Japan is wooing Vietnam because it also has territorial disputes with China.

‘Global South’ nations

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida has said that his list of guest nations reflects the importance of countries in the so-called “Global South”. The term is used for developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The G-7 countries account for about 40% of world economic activity, down from an estimated 80% of global GDP in the 1970s.

“When the UN adopts resolutions, you see that 190 or so of its member states are ‘Global South’ countries,” said Choi Eunmi, a Japan expert at South Korea’s Asan Institute Policy Institute.

Indonesia’s importance to Japan, for example, is linked to its abundant natural resources and economic potential, said expert Kim.

India is the chair of the G-20 this year, which is seen as an important bridge between the G-7 economies and the Global South. Japan has traditionally had close ties with India, where Prime Minister Kishida visited in March for a summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In response to questions from The Associated Press, Japan’s foreign ministry said the G-7 and other countries need to cooperate with the Global South to tackle issues of energy, food security, climate change, health and development.

american allies

Japan’s invitation to South Korea reflects the neighbors’ role as staunch allies of the US with a shared security threat from North Korea’s growing nuclear arsenal.

In recent weeks, Kishida and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol have taken major steps to boost security and economic cooperation and move past historical grievances stemming from Japan’s 1910-45 colonization of the Korean Peninsula.

In response to an AP question, the Japanese foreign ministry praised Yun for “proactive diplomacy showing commitment to the region’s peace and prosperity, including the announcement of an Indo-Pacific strategy”.

Kishida, Yun and US President Joe Biden are expected to meet on the sidelines of the G-7 summit to discuss North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, China’s growing influence and the Russian-Ukraine war.

According to Japan’s foreign ministry, Australia, a major US ally, is already cooperating closely with Japan, including in efforts to achieve a “free and open Indo-Pacific”, which has designated Australia a “Special Strategic Partner”. ” Said.

Last year, the two countries signed a new security pact covering military, intelligence and cyber security cooperation to counter the deteriorating security outlook driven by China’s growing assertiveness. This was the first such agreement that Japan had entered into with a country other than the United States.

other issues

Some guest nations lead regional and other bodies. Brazil will take over as the chair of the G-20 for India next year. Indonesia is the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Comoros leads the African Union, and the Cook Islands chair the Pacific Islands Forum.

Japan is stepping up its security and economic ties with the 18 Pacific Forum countries, partly to counter growing Chinese influence there. Observers say the invitation to the Cook Islands is an expression of Japanese respect for the Pacific nation, where there is concern about Japan’s plans to release treated but still radioactive wastewater from the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific.

Kishida is from Hiroshima, one of the two Japanese cities affected by American atomic bombs at the end of World War II. Holding the summit in his hometown would give him an opportunity to underline his determination to build a nuclear-free world.

With North Korea pursuing nuclear missiles meant to target the US mainland, expert Choi said, “It would be a bit strange if Japan did not include South Korea, which faces North Korean nuclear threats on its doorstep.” does.”