G7 won’t change position on Ukraine, up to India to forge consensus: Japan | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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G7 won’t change position on Ukraine, up to India to forge consensus: Japan

Jul 28, 2023 08:48 PM IST

The Ukraine crisis was among issues discussed by external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi at the bilateral foreign ministers’ strategic dialogue

NEW DELHI: Japan on Friday said G7 member states won’t change their position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and it is up to the Indian presidency of the G20 to forge consensus on text to refer to the crisis in the leaders’ declaration to be adopted at the grouping’s summit in September.

Ukrainian servicemen fire a Ukrainian self-propelled howitzer 2C22 Bohdana toward Russian positions, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine (REUTERS)
Ukrainian servicemen fire a Ukrainian self-propelled howitzer 2C22 Bohdana toward Russian positions, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine (REUTERS)

Indian negotiators have been hard at work to come up with text to refer to the crisis in the joint communique that will be acceptable to both G7 member states and Russia, which has dissociated itself from all references to Ukraine in G20 documents. China has insisted that “geopolitical content” such as the Ukraine war shouldn’t be included in G20 documents.

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The Ukraine crisis was among issues discussed by external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi at the bilateral foreign ministers’ strategic dialogue on Thursday. In the context of Ukraine, the two sides share the “fundamental thinking” that sovereignty and territorial integrity should be upheld in line with the UN Charter and that unilateral use of force to change the status quo is “not permissible”, Yukiko Okano, deputy press secretary in Japan’s foreign ministry, told reporters on Friday.

Asked if G7 member states will review their position on the Ukraine war to pave the way for a consensus leaders’ declaration at the G20 Summit to be hosted by India in September, Okano replied: “I think our position will remain the same, as G7 countries. I think whichever the forum, we will voice out our concern and our objection relating to Ukraine. But when it comes to the joint communique, it is really up to the presidency how to reach a consensus.”

She added, “I think I would refrain from commenting on the path forward. This is really in the hands of the Indian presidency.”

All G20 ministerial meetings hosted by India have failed to produce consensus documents because of opposition from Russia and China to refer to Ukraine.

With a little more than a month to go for the G20 Summit, negotiators from the grouping of the world’s largest economies are grappling with some five formulas to refer to the Ukraine crisis in the draft leaders’ declaration. The issue is set to figure in online negotiating sessions to be held in August, before coming up at the fourth meeting of G20 sherpas in early September.

G7 states have insisted that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine must find mention in the leaders’ declaration. But Russia and China have already rejected text used in the joint communique at last year’s G20 Summit to refer to the crisis, saying the situation on the ground has changed.

During the G7 Summit in Hiroshima in May under Japan’s presidency, member states resolved to stand against Russia’s “illegal, unjustifiable, and unprovoked” invasion of Ukraine and unveiled new sanctions against Moscow.

Okano declined to provide details of the discussions between Jaishankar and Hayashi on the Ukraine crisis, but said a free and open global order based on the rule of law is among fundamental principles shared by Japan and India. Japan also wants to see greater coordination between the G7 and the G20, she said.

In response to other questions, Okano said China figured in discussions between the two foreign ministers on the situation in South and Southeast Asia.

“China is our neighbouring country, and [Japan’s] new national security strategy stated that China is a challenge to our security. Our basic stance is we will say what we need to say to China bluntly, but we cooperate with China in fields where cooperation is possible,” she said.

“They are our biggest trading partner. We would like to have a stable, constructive relationship with China,” Okano added.

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