G7's position on war in Ukraine will remain same: Japan
The Russia-Ukraine war was discussed between Japanese foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and his Indian counterpart Jaishankar during the India-Japan forum in New Delhi
Japan on Friday, July 27, said the position of the G7 nations on the war in Ukraine will remain same and it is upto the Indian presidency of the G20 to build consensus on the text to refer to the crisis in the leaders' declaration to be adopted at the upcoming summit of the grouping.
India, the current president of the G20, is facing the uphill task of building consensus on the issue in view of sharp differences between the West and Russia-China.
Yukiko Okano, the deputy press secretary in Japan's foreign ministry, told reporters in Delhi that the Ukraine crisis figured in the talks between Japanese foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar in their talks on Thursday evening.
Okano, who is accompanying Hayashi in his two-day visit to India, said at a media briefing that the G7's position on Ukraine will not change.
"I think our position will remain the same as G7 countries, whichever forum we would voice out our concerns and our objection relating to Ukraine," she said.
"When it comes to the joint communique, it is really up to the presidency how to reach a consensus. So I would prefer not to comment on the path forward. This is in the hands of the Indian presidency," Okano said.
She was replying to a question on lack of consensus on the text of the joint communique and whether the G7 will review its position on the contentious issue to pave the way for finalising the leaders' declaration at the New Delhi summit of the G20.
The G7 summit took place in Hiroshima in May under Japan's presidency. In the summit, the G7 leaders resolved to stand against Russia's "illegal, unjustifiable, and unprovoked" invasion of Ukraine and unveiled new sanctions on Moscow.
In the text of the draft G20 communique, two paragraphs on the Ukraine conflict were taken from G20 'leaders' Bali declaration that was unveiled in November last.
Both Russia and China had agreed to the two paragraphs on the Ukraine conflict in the Bali declaration, but they backtracked from it this year creating difficulties for India to build consensus on the tricky issue.
The G20 operates under the principle of consensus.
Almost all key meetings held under India's G20 presidency including those of finance and foreign ministers, could not come out with consensus documents in view of opposition from Russia and China to any text referring to the Ukraine conflict.
However, Indian negotiators are confident of finding consensus on the text relating to Ukraine for the leaders' declaration.
Asked about discussions between Hayashi and Jaishankar on the Ukraine conflict, Okano refused to share details.
At the same time, she noted that the two countries share the "fundamental thinking" that sovereignty and territorial integrity should be protected in line with the UN Charter and that use of force to change the status quo is not acceptable. To another question, Okano said China figured in discussions between the two foreign ministers.
"China is our neighbouring country, and (Japan's) new national security strategy stated that China is a challenge to our security. Our basic stance is we will say what we need to say to China bluntly, but we cooperate with China in fields where cooperation is possible," she said. "They are our biggest trading partner. We would like to have a stable, constructive relationship with China," Okano added.