After completing a whirlwind tour of the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken turned his focused diplomacy to Asia on Tuesday. He called upon the Group of Seven, comprising leading industrial democracies, to establish a collective consensus on how to address the Israel-Hamas conflict.
While attending a two-day meeting in Japan with his G7 counterparts, Blinken emphasized the vital importance of the group displaying unity, much as they have done in addressing Russia’s conflict in Ukraine and other significant global issues. He stressed the need to prevent the existing differences in the Gaza conflict from becoming more entrenched.
Blinken conveyed to Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa that it was a crucial moment for the G7 to unite in response to the crisis and express a unified stance. This message was delivered shortly after his discussions with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.
The monthlong conflict in Gaza and efforts to alleviate the severe humanitarian consequences resulting from Israel’s response to the October 7 Hamas attack will be a central focus of the meeting.
However, it is not the sole crisis on the agenda, as the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, concerns about North Korea potentially preparing for a new nuclear test, and worries regarding China’s growing global assertiveness are also prominent issues to be discussed.
In Tokyo, Blinken, along with foreign ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and Italy, will be working to establish common ground. This effort aims to prevent the Gaza conflict from exacerbating the already fragile security situation in the broader Middle East and to uphold their current positions on other important issues.
A preliminary consensus on the Gaza issue seemed to be forming, as a minimum of four G7 member countries expressed their support for a robust collective stance. U.S. officials indicated that they anticipated the group would issue a communique presenting a unified position after the meetings on Wednesday.
Kishida’s office stated that he emphasized the increased necessity of G7 unity in light of the situations in Israel and Palestine, Ukraine, and the challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. The statement also conveyed the prime minister’s high appreciation for the leadership and diplomatic efforts demonstrated by the Biden administration regarding this matter.