May 28, 2017
TAORMINA, ITALY - Leaders of the Group of Seven major industrial countries on Saturday reiterated their commitment to fight protectionism, after a two-day summit in Taormina, southern Italy.
"We reiterate our commitment to keep our markets open and to fight protectionism, while standing firm against all unfair trade practices," the G-7 leaders said in a joint statement issued after the meeting.
In recent years, the G-7 countries expressed their resolve to fight protectionism in their leaders' statements issued at annual summits.
The administration of US President Donald Trump, who is promoting his "America First" trade policy, had initially opposed repeating the pledge, but ended up reversing course, sources familiar with the situation said.
The latest statement said the G-7 leaders "acknowledge that free, fair and mutually beneficial trade and investment, while crating reciprocal benefits, are key engines for growth and job creation."
The meeting brought together the leaders of the seven countries--Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States--as well as the European Union.
The leaders said that North Korea is "a top priority in the international agenda" because it "increasingly poses new levels of threat of a grave nature to international peace and stability and the nonproliferation regime" through its nuclear and missile programs.
"North Korea must immediately and fully comply with all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and abandon all nuclear and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner," the G-7 leaders said.
"Condemning in the strongest terms North Korea's nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches, we stand ready to strengthen measures aimed at achieving these objectives," they said.
The G-7 leaders also called on the international community, including China and Russia that have influence on North Korea, to fully implement the UN sanctions resolutions on Pyongyang.
The leaders expressed concerns over China's territorial assertiveness in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, saying they remain "strongly opposed to any unilateral actions that could increase tensions."
"We urge all parties to pursue demilitarization of disputed features," the statement said, apparently referring to China's military buildup in the South China Sea. (Jiji Press)
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