(UPDATE) KARUIZAWA, Japan: Top diplomats from the Group of Seven (G7) leading economies began talks in Japan on Monday, looking to come up with a unified message on concerns about China after controversial remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron.
The foreign ministers are keen to move past the firestorm created by Macron’s assertion, following a trip to Beijing, that Europe should avoid “crises that aren’t ours,” and China was on the agenda even before official talks kicked off on Monday morning.
After arriving at the mountain resort town of Karuizawa on a special bullet train, the group held a working dinner on China and North Korea, with Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi telling his counterparts that “the unity of the G7 is extremely important.”
Monday’s first session again focused on China and regional challenges, and Hayashi opened the talks by warning the international community was “at history’s turning point.”
He urged counterparts to “demonstrate to the world the G7’s strong determination” to defend the “international order based on the rule of law.”
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The East Asian country wants regional challenges atop the agenda, and recent events including Chinese military drills around Taiwan and North Korean missile tests have sharpened that focus.
As the ministers began talks, the United States Navy announced it had sailed a guided-missile destroyer through the Taiwan Strait in a freedom-of-navigation operation, with Beijing saying it had tracke