G7 japan.jpg
Photograph: EPA/KIMIMASA MAYAMA

Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized nations Monday condemned North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests at the end of a two-day meeting in the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

The G-7 condemned “in the strongest terms” nuclear and ballistic missile tests carried out by Pyongyang this year, according to a statement issued after the meeting.

The ministers also expressed concerns about maritime tensions in the East and South China Seas.

"We express our strong opposition to any intimidating, coercive or provocative unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions," they said in an apparent criticism of China’s expansionist moves.

The meeting came amid growing tension over North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes and China's increasingly aggressive claims to nearly all of the South China Sea.

Meeting in Hiroshima, once devastated by a US atomic bomb, the ministers pledged to enhance their efforts toward nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

The ministers reaffirmed a commitment to “seeking a safer world for all and to creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons,” according to the declaration.

Earlier in the day, the ministers laid a wreath at the memorial for victims of the atomic bomb dropped on the city in the closing days of World War II, 71 years ago.

“Honoured to pay first ever G7 visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial. Remembering the past to build peace for the future,” EU foreign affairs representative Federica Mogherini wrote on Twitter.

In the wake of a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Brussels last month, the ministers also agreed to draw up a G-7 action plan to counter terrorism that their leaders can adopt at their summit meeting in the coastal city of Shima in May.

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