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G7 leaders agree on sending strong message on South China Sea
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, second left, shares a laugh with other leaders of Group of Seven industrial nations, from left, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, left top behind Merkel, Abe, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, U.S. President Barack Obama, European Council President Donald Tusk, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron as they walk out to the family photo session on the first day of the G-7 summit meetings in Shima, Japan, Thursday, May 26, 2016.
Japan Pool via AP

G7 leaders agree on sending strong message on South China Sea

Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - May 27, 2016 - 10:51am

MANILA, Philippines — The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies have agreed that there is a need to send a strong message on China's maritime claims in the South China Sea.

China is locked in territorial disputes with Japan and several Southeast Asian nations including the Philippines and Vietnam.

"Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe led discussion on the current situation in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Other G7 leaders said it is necessary for G7 to issue a clear signal," Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko said.

According to reports, this agreement prompted a sharp rejoinder from China, which is not a member of the G7.

China warned the G7 that it should not meddle with the South China Sea issue and suggested that the group should focus on itself and "not poke its nose into other countries or matters beyond its remit."

"I have made it very clear that the South China Sea issue has nothing to do with the G7 and its members. We believe that the G7 should focus its time and energy on coping with issues within it, and not poke its nose into other countries or matters beyond its remit. This is also good for the G7 itself," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a press briefing on Thursday.

Hua said that come countries are only taking advantage of the G7 and stressed that China is against certain countries hyping up the issue on the sea dispute.

"The South China Sea issue is none of the business of the G7 and its members," Hua said.

The G7 — composed of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — recently wrapped up their two-day annual leaders' summit in Japan.

G7 GROUP OF SEVEN SHINZO ABE SOUTH CHINA SEA
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