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G7 Summit Begins in Hiroshima


FILE: Visitors are seen at the Peace Memorial Museum, ahead of the G7 summit, in Hiroshima on May 17, 2023.

HIROSHIMA, JAPAN - World leaders gathereed Thursday for a Group of Seven meeting in Hiroshima, the site of the world’s first atomic bomb attack, with Russia’s war in Ukraine high on the discussion agenda.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida kicked off his summit diplomacy by meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden after his arrival.

The Japan-U.S. alliance is the “very foundation of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region,” Kishida told Biden in opening remarks.

“We very much welcome that the cooperation has evolved in leaps and bounds,” he said.

Biden said: “When our countries stand together, we stand stronger, and I believe the whole world is safer when we do."

Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, said there will be “discussions about the battlefield” in Ukraine and on the "state of play on sanctions and the steps that the G-7 will collectively commit to on enforcement in particular.”

The G-7 includes Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada and Italy, as well as the European Union.

Leaders from Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Korea are among those participating as guests. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to join by video link.

The leaders are due to discuss efforts to strengthen the global economy and address rising prices that are squeezing families and government budgets around the world, particularly in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The G-7 hopes to strengthen its members' ties with countries outside the world's richest industrialized nations, while shoring up support for efforts like isolating Russia.

The debate over raising the debt limit in the U.S., the world's largest economy, has threatened to overshadow the G-7 talks. Biden plans to hurry back to Washington after the summit for debt negotiations, scrapping planned meetings in Papua New Guinea and Australia.

The leaders are also expected to discuss how to deal with China's growing assertiveness and military buildup as concerns rise that it could could try to seize Taiwan by force, sparking a wider conflict.

During the meeting, Kishida hopes to highlight the risks of nuclear proliferation. Leaders are expected to visit a memorial park that commemorates the 1945 atomic bombing by the U.S. that destroyed the city and killed 140,000 people.

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