G7 steps up Russia sanctions, seeks to reduce China trade dependency

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Leaders of the world's richest democracies agreed on Friday to stiffen sanctions against Russia, while a draft communique to be issued after their talks in the Japanese city of Hiroshima stressed the need to reduce reliance on trade with China.

The Group of Seven (G7) leaders, who will be joined this weekend by Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, vowed to restrict any exports to Russia that could help it in its 15-month war against Uk"This includes exports of industrial machinery, tools, and other technology that Russia uses to rebuild its war machine," they said in a joint statement released on Friday, adding they would pursue moves to restrict Russian revenues from trade in metals and diamonds.

On China, which the G7 powers see increasingly as a threat to economic security, they were to agree that its status as the world's second-largest economy meant there was no alternative to seeking cooperation, an early draft of the final communique seen by Reuters said.

"Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China, we do not seek to thwart China's economic progress and development," the draft, which is still subject to change, said.

The draft nonetheless went on to urge measures to "reduce excessive dependencies" in critical supply chains and counter "malign practices" in technology transfer and data disclosure.

It also reaffirmed the need for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and also urged China to press Russia to stop its military aggression of Ukraine.

The members of the G7 - the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Canada and Italy - will use the 3-day meeting to debate strategy on a Ukraine conflict that shows no sign of easing.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who represents Hiroshima in Japan's lower house of parliament, said he chose the city for the summit to focus attention on arms control.

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