G-7 leaders to condemn N. Korea, terrorism as summit wraps up

Group of Seven leaders are set to send a message of condemnation of North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and of terrorism on Saturday, the second and final day of their summit in Italy.

The leaders, four of whom are newcomers to the annual gathering, are expected to exert last-minute efforts to bridge the remaining gaps over sensitive trade and climate change issues before releasing a joint communique in the afternoon.

 The statement at last year’s summit, hosted by Japan, included a clear commitment to the landmark 2015 Paris agreement on climate change and a pledge to fight all forms of protectionism in trade.

But glimpses at Friday’s dialogue suggest neither of those will make it into the Taormina communique. U.S. President Donald Trump appeared resolute in both his skepticism over the emissions-cutting Paris accord and his pursuit of a trade doctrine reflecting his “America First” election platform.

Trump administration officials said Friday the U.S. leader told his peers he would “rather take my time, I’d rather understand the issues, and I’d rather get to the right decisions” before making a commitment either way on the Paris agreement.

On North Korea, the leaders appear certain to send a united message calling for further pressure on the country, which carried out its latest ballistic missile test on Sunday and has claimed it is putting the finishing touches on an intercontinental ballistic missile that could deliver nuclear warheads to the U.S. mainland.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had said on his way to Italy that the G-7 leaders would “be united to address” the North Korean nuclear issue, reached such agreements with Trump and new French President Emmanuel Macron on the sidelines of summit proceedings on Friday.

The second day of proceedings in Taormina will start with an outreach session themed on innovation and development in Africa, bringing the G-7 leaders together with their counterparts from leaders of Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia.

Taormina is on the island of Sicily, the western tip of which lies just 150 kilometers from the coast of Tunisia.

A session on global issues, which G-7 host Italy has specified as the movement of people, food security and gender, will follow.

Asian Review

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