G7 summit: Biden, Kishida affirm efforts for peace in Indo-Pacific, Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden (L) meets with Fumio Kishida, Japan's prime minister, ahead of the Group of Seven leaders summit in Hiroshima, Japan, on Thursday. Photo by Japan's PM Press Office
1 of 8 | U.S. President Joe Biden (L) meets with Fumio Kishida, Japan's prime minister, ahead of the Group of Seven leaders summit in Hiroshima, Japan, on Thursday. Photo by Japan's PM Press Office | License Photo

May 18 (UPI) -- U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida reaffirmed their commitment to settling tensions in the Indo-Pacific region and achieving peace in Ukraine on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima on Thursday.

Kishida, who is hosting the summit as chairman of the G7 presidency for the year, said in a preopening statement he hopes to "facilitate candid discussions among the G7 leaders to articulate ideas and plans" to address "mounting challenges facing the international community."


"Under Japan's leadership, we've already delivered progress on the G7 agenda this year," Biden said in remarks ahead of the meeting. "As you said back in January when you were at the White House, I think the quote is: 'We face ... one of the most complex environments in recent history' ... I couldn't agree with you more. But I'm proud that the United States and Japan are facing it together."


Kishida said the U.S.-Japan alliance was "foundational" for continued peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and that Japan would continue to welcome cooperation with the United States "in all areas."

In a readout of the meeting, the White House said the two leaders "underscored their opposition to any attempts to change the status quo by force and reiterated their resolve to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait."

Relations between the United States and China have been strained by U.S. support for Taiwan in its crawl toward independence, and the tightening bond between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, this year's Chinese spy balloon incidents have driven tensions even higher.

Earlier this month, Biden met with Philippines President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the White House, where they discussed U.S. defense commitments in Southeast Asia in the face of China's increasing aggression toward Taiwan, which it considers part of its territory.

Xi has vowed to take steps toward "reunification" with Taiwan during his third term, which started in March.

The White House added that Biden and Kishida also affirmed "their resolve to continue supporting Ukraine as it defends itself from Russia's brutal and unlawful invasion and committed to work closely together to address regional security challenges, including the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs and coercive behavior by the People's Republic of China that runs counter to international law."


The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is the formal name for North Korea.

Support for Ukraine, bolstering the resilience of the global economy and a continued push to implement impactful climate change mitigation policies remain top priorities among G7 finance ministers and central bank governors who met in Niigata, Japan, last week to discuss international priorities,

"Energy insecurity caused by Russia's war of aggression has reinforced our determination to further accelerate our climate action and promote an orderly and just transition to achieve our emission reduction targets," the panel said in their report.

While on the trip, which makes Biden the second sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, he is also expected to address U.S. efforts to combat climate change and support developing nations that have suffered its effects.

During a major economies forum on energy and climate last month, Biden reiterated his goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 by decarbonizing energy.

Biden touted the mitigating effects of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law projects and the CHIPS and Science Act throughout his "Investing in America" tour this spring. At COP27 last fall, Biden said the United States would be a leader on tackling climate change, urging other nations to follow its lead.


More recently, the president received backlash from environmental advocates after approving a new drilling project on Alaska's North Slope. The Sierra Club environmental advocacy group said the project stands to "entirely undo the clean energy progress we've made, lock us into fossil fuel drilling for another 30 years and threaten the communities and wildlife who rely on these Alaskan landscapes."

Biden, however, will bypass the opportunity to be the first U.S. president to visit Papua New Guinea as he cuts short his travel plans to return to the negotiating table as the U.S. debt ceiling deadline approaches.

He is expected to return to the United States in time to hold a press conference on Sunday as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned the nation could default on its debts as early as June 1 if a deal is not reached.

Peter Ireland, an economics professor at Boston College, told UPI default would create chaos that would spill over on a global scale. Even if the default lasts only for a day before the United States finds a resolution, significant damage will be done, he said.

The damage could be wide-ranging.

For example, faith in U.S. political systems and its leaders would be negatively affected at home and abroad. More directly, though, the nation's credit score likely would be lowered, weakening its borrowing power. If the default persists for weeks or months, international trade will be significantly disrupted, echoing the supply chain issues that surfaced following the COVID-19 pandemic.


"It would be so crazy, yet we've seen so many crazy things happen," Ireland told UPI. "Ordinarily, you would say a default would never happen. There's going to be some kind of compromise. Given what we've seen in the last three years, nothing can be ruled out."

While U.S. default was not plainly discussed in pre-summit meetings with G7 leaders, building a more resilient global economy reflects that international agencies are preparing for yet another unprecedented event that could shake financial systems around the world in a worst-case scenario should the United States default on its debt.

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