• Kyodo

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Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations are set to wrap up their three-day talks Sunday with a call for peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, a diplomatic source said, a development that is likely to anger China.

In a joint communique to be issued after the meeting in Cornwall, southwestern England, the G7 leaders are also expected to back the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics starting next month in a boost to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who faces a public skeptical about Japan’s hosting of the events amid the coronavirus pandemic.

If realized, it will be the first time that the G7 — which groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, plus the European Union — has referred to the Taiwan situation in a leaders’ statement, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Beijing regards the self-ruled, democratic island as a renegade province to be reunited with the mainland, by force, if necessary. Concerns have grown that Beijing has been increasing its military pressure on Taipei.

Other key deliverables from the G7 summit — the first such in-person meeting for almost two years — include a commitment to extending more than 1 billion additional vaccines to struggling countries in hopes of ending the global COVID-19 crisis by 2022.

In a move to counter Beijing’s growing clout, the leaders have also agreed to launch a new infrastructure project for the developing world as an alternative to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road initiative.

Critics say the BRI lacks transparency, has poor environmental and labor standards, and has a record of saddling developing countries with debt.

Besides China and the pandemic, the G7 leaders were focusing on issues such as climate change, democracy and human rights, as well as the world economy.

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