G7 trains gun on Russia, China; de-risking weighs


Photo credit Twitter G7 Japan

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, May 20: Japan, pushing an assertive foreign policy to steer out of decades of pacifism, had its signature on the joint statement issued by G7 on nuclear disarmament, with much focus on Russia, Iran and North Korea, almost dubbing them as rogue nations, while making a passing reference to China threat to the global peace.

Holding the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, the site of the first nuclear attack during the World War II, which killed over two lakh people according to some estimates, Japan is seeking an authorship of a renewed focus on global nuclear disarmament agenda, which has disappeared from the multilateral discourse for all practices.

“We deeply regret Russia’s decision to undermine the New START Treaty, and call on Russia to enable a return to full implementation of the Treaty. At the same time, China’s accelerating build-up of its nuclear arsenal without transparency nor meaningful dialogue poses a concern to global and regional stability,” said the G7 statement in its Hiroshima Vision.

China, according to SIPRI think tank, has 350 nuclear warheads, and the Pentagon estimates that Beijing is on course to raise the nuclear weapon stockpile to 1500 by 2035. China claims a no first use policy of the nuclear weapon, but the world is disbelieving the Communist nation ever since its President Xi Jinping has embarked on modernization of the military with an aim for assimilating Taiwan with the mainland.

The Hiroshima document came down heavily on Russia for nuclear sabre rattling, as well as eying the Ukrainian nuclear stocks. Also, the G7 statement on nuclear disarmament was more focused on Iran and North Korea, asking them to join the multilateral regime on non-proliferation.

Strategic commentators have noted that even while the Hiroshima Vision on nuclear disarmament is not as intense as it should have been on China, there is certainly an underlying admission that Beijing is aiding the rogue nations – Russia, Iran and North Korea – in bloating their nuclear capabilities.

Incidentally, the Chinese submarines with nuclear capabilities have been seen in the Indian Ocean waters, carrying reconnaissance activities on a regular basis. With China threatening Taiwan, the G7 is still not convincing in its condemnation of Beijing.

This, experts note, is on account of a divided Europe, as Germany and the UK, two G7 nations, are seen bending on their backs to keep Beijing in good humour to protect their economic interests. With Europe committing to go electric in mobility by 2035, China holds the lithium weapon in its arsenal to dictate terms to Europe even while the UK and Canada associate more with the US, while Italy remains on the sidelines.

The G7 consists of the US, Japan, Italy, the UK, France, Germany and Canada, the seven most industrialized countries, having almost 50 per cent of the global GDP at about $40 trillion. This explains the thrust that the G7 will be seeking de-risking and not de-coupling from China.  

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