G7 foreign ministers seek policy aligned with Ukraine-China war

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Münster, Germany, November 3 (Reuters) – Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven met in Germany on Thursday to discuss how to better align policies and remain united in the face of intensifying Russian attacks on the Ukraine, to China’s growing assertiveness and Iranian crackdown on protesters.

The meeting in the western German city of Münster comes as concerns persist over the West’s consistency in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amid leadership changes across the ‘Europe. A possible victory for US Republicans to take control of Congress in next week’s midterm elections also raises fears of potential restrictions on US aid to Ukraine.

“This G7 ministerial meeting comes, for us, at an important time,” a senior US State Department official said, noting that the group “has been a vital coordination mechanism” for policy approaches on key issues. more urgent.

During the two-day meeting, G7 diplomats will participate in sessions on Ukraine, China and the Indo-Pacific as well as Iran and Africa, among others.

EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson said during a visit to Kyiv on Tuesday that the European Union, together with its partners, was exploring ways to increase aid to Ukraine’s energy sector.

Ukraine needed specific equipment and tools to repair damage to its energy infrastructure, she said. Foreign companies should be asked to prioritize the transfer of energy equipment to Ukraine.

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The G7 meeting will also be an opportunity for the world‘s wealthiest democracies to discuss developments in China and security in the Indo-Pacific after Chinese President Xi Jinping cemented his grip on power during the Congress. of the Communist Party last month.

Xi said in a speech at the opening of the congress that China would never renounce the use of force to secure unification with the self-governing island of Taiwan, which it claims as sovereign territory.

“Foreign ministers will discuss the situation in Taiwan (…) and how the G7 can strengthen partnerships with countries in the region,” the British Foreign Office said in a statement.

G7 ministers are also expected to address German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s recent controversial decisions to allow Chinese shipping company Cosco to invest in a terminal in the Port of Hamburg and sail to Beijing on Friday.

Critics have accused Scholz of continuing to prioritize Germany’s economic interests over broader security concerns in the face of an increasingly assertive authoritarian state, as they say his predecessor, Angela Merkel, did. made with Russia.

The United States had “strongly suggested” that China had no majority stake in the Hamburg port terminal, the senior US State Department official said.

Germany ultimately decided to grant Cosco only a 24.9% stake in the terminal, down from an initial offer for a 35% stake.

Germany has also invited Ghana, Kenya and the African Union to join the G7 meeting for discussions on climate change, infrastructure, democracy and the resolution of conflicts and humanitarian crises, said the British Foreign Office.

“We are doing more together in the so-called Global South, including in Africa,” the senior State Department official said. “That will be a feature of this discussion.”

The G7 meeting is hosted by Germany as holder of the group’s rotating presidency. Münster hosts its first major diplomatic gathering since the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 which ended the Thirty Years’ War in Europe.

Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Humeyra Pamuk; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper and Steve Scherer; Written by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Nick Macfie

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