Kishida says G7 should show strong will on Russia’s Ukraine invasion

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WASHINGTON, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Saturday that the G7 summit in Hiroshima in May should demonstrate a strong will to uphold international order and rule of law after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking at a news conference in Washington a day after a summit with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday, Kishida made no mention of a comment by former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who accused the Japanese leader on Saturday of shameful subservience to the United States and suggested he should ritually disembowel himself.

At their summit Biden and Kishidasaid their alliance was stronger than ever after Japan last month announced its biggest military build-up since World War Two, amid mounting security concerns about China, North Korea and Russia.

Kishida also stressed the importance of standing up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying that if a unilateral change to the status quo went unchallenged, the same would happen elsewhere, including in Asia – an apparent reference to China’s vow to reunite with self-governed Taiwan, by force if necessary.

Kishida came to Washington on the last stop of a tour of G7 industrial powers and has been seeking to bolster long-standing alliances.

“In our coordination in the run up to the Hiroshima summit, the greatest issue was, needless to say, the Russian aggression against Ukraine, which will soon mark one year since the start,” he told the news conference.

“I pointed out that the aggression against Ukraine is not only a European problem but also a challenge to the very rules and principles of the international community and agreed with the heads of state and government that the G7 Hiroshima summit should demonstrate a strong will to uphold the international order, based on the rule of law,” he said.

Kishida was not asked about Medvedev’s comments at his news conference.

He said he had not been able to meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on his trip due to scheduling conflicts, but would like the opportunity to exchange views with him as soon as possible.

Kishida said unity and cooperation of the G7 would determine global trends more than ever before. He said the outlook for global economy was becoming increasingly uncertain and the G7 must look at responses to downside risks to it.

Kishida said Japan and the United States were working together to ensure resilience of supply chains and semiconductors, but when asked if Japan would back strong controls on China’s access to chips announced by the United States last year, he said: “As for concrete measures there is nothing I can say firmly today.”

He said further consultations were needed and added: “as far as Japan is concerned, we are going to think about how to handle this with responsibility.”

Kishida has said he backs Biden’s attempt to limit China’s access to advanced semiconductors with export restrictions but has not agreed to the match sweeping curbs on exports of chip-manufacturing equipment Washington imposed in October

(Reporting by Michael Martina, David Brunnstrom and Kanishka Singh)

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