G7 vows to take collective action to address global challenges

Ministers attend the start of a plenary session on day two of the G7 foreign and development ministers meeting at Lancaster House in London, UK, May 5, 2021. (Photo: Getty images)

The Group of Seven (G7) on Wednesday underscored a need for a common stance to tackle global threats such as COVID-19 and climate change and vowed to strengthen "open societies, shared values and rules-based international order."
"We affirm the need to take collective action on the most pressing foreign and security challenges," foreign ministers of G7 nations said in a final communique totaling more than 12,000 words. "The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored that global challenges require global collaboration."
"We commit to working together, with partner countries and within the multilateral system, to shape a cleaner, freer, fairer and more secure future for the planet," they said.
The G7, namely the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan, wrapped up their first in-person meeting in more than two years on Wednesday.
The foreign ministers, who met in central London under tight coronavirus restrictions, committed to financially support the vaccine-sharing program, COVAX. But there was no immediate announcement on fresh funding to improve greater access to vaccines, despite calls for the G7 to do more to help poorer countries.

Cooperation with China

The foreign ministers repeated some Western countries' allegations against China over issues related to Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, but held the door open for future cooperation with Beijing.
"It is in all of our interests, including China's, to take action that addresses global challenges including climate change and biodiversity loss, to promote economic recovery from COVID-19 and to support the fight against the current pandemic and prevent future ones," they said.
"We look for opportunities to work with China to promote regional and global peace, security and prosperity," they added.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said after the meeting that G7 countries are looking for a "constructive, calibrated approach" to China.
"We're all looking for a constructive, calibrated approach; engaging where there's scope to do so on things like climate change and being very clear on the values we hold dear," Raab told reporters.

European High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell (bottom R) leaves the G7 foreign ministers' meeting in London, UK, May 5, 2021. (Photo: Getty images)

Russia, Myanmar, Iran, DPRK

The G7 foreign ministers called out Russia for what they said was "irresponsible and destabilizing behavior" by amassing troops on the Ukrainian border, "malicious cyber-activity," disinformation and malign intelligence activity.
"We ... will continue to bolster our collective capabilities and those of our partners to address and deter Russian behavior that is threatening the rules-based international order," said the communique.
Russia denies it is meddling beyond its borders and says the West is gripped by anti-Russian hysteria.
The foreign ministers also threatened to impose fresh sanctions against the Myanmar military, which took over power in the Southeast Asian country in February.
Commenting on the ongoing talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), they said: "The JCPOA remains the best way to ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program."

Meanwhile, they called on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to "refrain from provocative actions and to engage in a diplomatic process with the explicit goal of denuclearization."
"We regret that the DPRK has not taken concrete, verified actions towards denuclearization," they added.
Pyongyang has ruled out further talks with Washington unless the U.S. ends hostilities.
This week's meeting sets the tone for the G7 leaders' meeting in Cornwall, southwest England, next month, at which U.S. President Joe Biden makes his international debut.