The G7 meeting in Hiroshima, Japan, which took place from May 19-21, 2023, was a gathering of leaders from the world’s richest nations, including the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan, along with representatives from the European Union. The G7 is an informal grouping with no permanent secretariat or legal status, with a different member country assuming the presidency of the group each year.
The G7 was founded following the 1973 OPEC oil embargo as a forum for the richest nations to discuss global economic issues. Its countries have a combined annual GDP of $40 trillion, which represents just under half of the world economy.
The key points of discussion at the 2023 G7 meeting in Japan were:
Geopolitical issues: The ongoing war in Ukraine was a central topic, with the G7 aiming to show unity and support for Ukraine. This included discussions about providing more weapons, political support, and financial assistance to Ukraine, intensifying sanctions on Russia, and forcing countries that help Russia circumvent sanctions to comply with them. However, there were differences in the G7 countries’ approaches to issues such as negotiation strategies, China’s role, and whether to ban exports to Russia.
Economic and climate issues: The health of the global economy, inflation, and global food security were discussed, particularly in the context of the impact of the Ukraine war. The risk of a debt default by the United States was also discussed, as were differences over the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, which offers green subsidies that often only apply to products made in North America.
China and the United States: The United States pushed for a stronger deterrence strategy towards China. Topics included how to slow China’s technological advance, reduce the West’s economic and supply chain dependency on China, and counter Beijing’s assertiveness towards Taiwan.
Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida put nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation at the top of the agenda, a point highlighted by his choice of Hiroshima as the host location. Discussions revolved around the current challenges to nuclear security, such as Russia’s veiled warnings about using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine, North Korea’s ballistic missile tests, and Iran’s expansion of its nuclear program.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): The development of generative AI, specifically the ChatGPT service developed by OpenAI, was discussed. The G7 leaders agreed that they should adopt “risk-based” regulation on AI.
The meeting also included leaders from other nations, such as Australia, Brazil, Comoros for the African Union, Cook Islands for the Pacific Forum, India, Indonesia, South Korea, and Vietnam, to help bring to the fore key topics and to strengthen alliances.