Japan’s Jiji Press is reporting that G-7 foreign ministers, in an apparent warning to China, issued a joint statement Wednesday strongly opposing “any attempt to assert territorial or maritime claims through the use of intimidation, coercion or force.”
The ministers met in Luebeck, Germany this week lay the groundwork for the G-7 summit of heads of state and government meeting in Bavaria in June. The two days of meetings ended today.
The foreign minister statement appeared timed to coincide with reports that China continues to conduct reclamation work on disputed reefs and outcrops in the South China Sea. Beijing is also facing off with Japan over the Japan-administered Senkaku islands in the East China Sea.
“We continue to observe the situation in the East and South China seas and are concerned by any unilateral actions, such as large-scale land reclamation, which change the status quo and increase tensions,” the G-7 ministers said.
They also stressed the peaceful resolution of maritime issues under international law.
Their statement on maritime affairs emerged from two days of discussions in which the main focus of the ministers from the U.S., France, Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan and Canada was the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East.
On Ukraine, Deutsche Welle said the ministers agreed that further sanctions against Russia, in response to its support of separatists rebels in eastern Ukraine, should only be enforced if a full implementation of the Minsk Agreement is repealed.
“We expect in particular Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full,” the G7 ministers said in a statement.