Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has landed in Hiroshima, Japan, for the G7 leaders’ summit, where he is expected to boost cooperation on global and economic security to protect against geopolitical instability and the threat of climate change.
All eyes will be on how the G7 countries choose to deal with the China threat in particular.
The leaders of the G7 countries – Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Japan – meet annually to collaborate on common goals. This year’s summit will focus on seven key agenda items, including geopolitical and global security issues, economic resilience and climate change, and energy.
Ahead of the summit, Trudeau wrapped up his first official visit to South Korea on Thursday, where the two countries reached agreements on the supply chain of key minerals used in electric vehicles and youth mobility.
Canada hopes to expand its alliances beyond its traditional Western partners, seeking closer ties with South Korea and Japan. The Liberal government’s Indo-Pacific strategy provides a road map for strengthening military and economic ties in the region to counterbalance Beijing’s influence.
Canada and South Korea have signed an agreement on essential minerals to reduce dependence on China
Seoul and Tokyo have also worked to repair their relationship as they deepen trilateral security cooperation with Washington in response to growing regional threats from North Korea and China.
The meeting between the G7 nations comes amid regional tensions with China and the ongoing war in Ukraine, both of which are expected to be focal points of the summit.
Canada is expected to seek the cooperation of G7 members in providing continued support to Ukraine, as well as in the fight against climate change.
In a statement provided by Trudeau to the University of Toronto’s G7 research group ahead of the summit, the prime minister linked addressing climate change to increased security.
“A clean economy offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to not only make 1.5 degrees of warming achievable and prevent the worst effects of climate change, but also to create and secure good, middle-class jobs for our people.” and grow our economies,” Trudeau wrote.
“When we reduce emissions, we can spur economic growth and build new robust, reliable supply chains that reduce our dependence on raw materials and components from countries like China and Russia. It’s an economic policy, it’s a climate policy and it’s a security policy.”
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Trudeau addressed tensions with China during a joint press conference with South Korean President Yun Suk-yeol on Wednesday, saying both countries plan to be cautious in their approach to China.
“We both recognize that China is an important economic partner not only in the region, but globally,” Trudeau said.
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“But we have to look clearly at where we are partnering with China,” Trudeau added, noting that Canada co-hosted the UN Biodiversity Summit with the country in Montreal last year.
“We need to know where we are going to compete with China on economic grounds and where we are going to challenge China on human rights and other issues,” he said.
“It’s something that we will both continue to do in a way that makes sense for our own countries and our situations.”
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South Korea has also been invited to attend the G7 leaders’ summit.
Last week, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland met with other G7 finance ministers to discuss how to increase cooperation between like-minded countries.
They aim to “differentiate our economies to make our supply chains more resilient and create good jobs for people in Canada and around the world,” he said at a news conference Friday.
“In particular, (by) working together to respond to the economic coercion of authoritarian regimes.”
But the joint statement issued by finance ministers and central bankers made no specific mention of China or of “economic coercion” to pursue political goals, such as punishing companies in countries whose governments take actions that anger another country.
The summit is also expected to give greater voice and attention to the Global South, a term that describes mainly developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Japan has invited countries ranging from South American powerhouse Brazil to the tiny Cook Islands in the South Pacific.
By broadening the conversation beyond the world’s richest industrial nations, analysts say the group hopes to strengthen political and economic ties while supporting efforts to isolate Russia and counter China’s assertiveness around the world.
_ With files from the Associated Press
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