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World leaders land in Hiroshima for G7 meeting, Ukraine war high on agenda

HIROSHIMA, JAPAN (AP) – World leaders landed yesterday for a Group of Seven (G7) meeting in Hiroshima, the site of the world’s first atomic bomb attack, with the war in Ukraine expected to be high on the agenda.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida kicked off his summit diplomacy by meeting with United States (US) President Joe Biden after his arrival.

He was also due to hold talks with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak before the three-day gathering of leaders of the world’s wealthy democracies opens today.

The Japan-US alliance is the “very foundation of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region”, Kishida told Biden in opening remarks.

“We very much welcome that the cooperation has evolved in leaps and bounds,” he said.

Biden said, “When our countries stand together, we stand stronger, and I believe the whole world is safer when we do.”

Security was tight in Hiroshima, with thousands of police deployed at numerous points throughout the city.

A small group of protesters was considerably outnumbered by police as they gathered on Wednesday evening beside the ruins of the Atomic Peace Dome memorial, holding signs including one which read “No G7 Imperialist Summit!”

During the meeting in Hiroshima, Kishida hopes to highlight the risks of nuclear proliferation. Leaders are expected to visit a memorial park that commemorates the 1945 atomic bombing by the US that destroyed the city and killed 140,000 people.

North Korea’s nuclear programme and a spate of recent missile tests have crystalised fears of an potential attack. So have Russia’s threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

The leaders are due to discuss efforts to strengthen the global economy and address rising prices that are squeezing families and government budgets around the world, particularly in developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

A host of other countries have been invited to take part. The G7 hopes to strengthen its members’ ties with countries outside the world’s richest industrialised nations. Leaders from Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Korea are among those participating as guests. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to join by video link.

Police outnumber protesters at a rally against the G7 being held next to the Atomic Bomb Dome war memorial in Hiroshima, Japan. PHOTO: AP
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