States must refrain from unilateral steps, G7 says in reference to China

  • Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times, Ise-Shima, Japan
  • Updated: May 27, 2016 15:29 IST
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks to journalists at a press conference at the end of the two-day Group of Seven Summit meeting at Shima on Friday. (AFP)

Leaders of the group of G7 said they are concerned about the situation in the East and South China seas and urged states to refrain from unilateral measures in reference to China taking aggressive positions on maritime claims during their two-day summit that concluded here on Friday.

The leaders of the most advanced economies of the world-- US, UK, Japan, Canada, Germany, Italy and France-- shared their “strong sense of concerns” about the outlook for global economy and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said “the contraction of world economy” is the “most worrisome risk”.

With Asia hosting the summit after eight years and most countries in the region engaged in territorial disputes with China in the South and East China seas, the summit deliberations on foreign policy had a great deal of accent on maritime security.

“We are concerned about the situation in East and South China seas and emphasise the fundamental importance of peaceful management and settlement of disputes,” the leaders said in their declaration.

The declaration reiterated the grouping’s commitment to maintain a rules-based maritime order. “We affirm the importance of states making and clarifying their claims based on international law, refraining from unilateral actions which could increase tensions and not using force or coercion in trying to settle disputes,” it said.

The European countries do not share the strong position against China advocated by Japan and the US. Opening the first session of the summit on Thursday, Prime Minister Abe had said the Chinese positions on maritime claims amounted to “unilateral challenges” to the “international systems we have created.”

Prime Minister Abe said that G7 industrial powers share a strong sense of crisis during. Calling for coordinated efforts to increase the demand, he said “the most worrisome risk is the contraction of global economy”.

Abe talked about falling oil prices and said developing countries are facing a crisis that needs concerted efforts. He referred to Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, which preceded the 2008 global financial crisis. “There is a real risk that the global economy would fall into a crisis if right policy measures are not made,” he said.

Abe talked about his own economic doctrine known as Abebomics, which in essence is his policies of growth and reflation-- stimulating the economy by increasing the money supply through reduction in taxes--to re-ignite economic growth in Japan.

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