The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) leading industrialized nations are expected to express opposition to island construction and militarization of outposts in the South China Sea, without explicitly naming China, Japanese media reported Wednesday.
At the two-day summit starting Thursday in the coastal city of Shima, the leaders plan to declare principles of rule of law proposed by Japan regarding territorial claims at sea, Kyodo News agency reported, citing unnamed negotiation sources.
Amid growing concerns about China’s increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea, Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe has advocated that claims be based on international law, and resolution sought through peaceful means rather than force or coercion, Kyodo said.
China has been reclaiming land on islands and reefs in the sea in recent years, and several Chinese military deployments to the region have been reported.
Beijing's actions prompted G7 foreign ministers to issue a statement in April opposing "any coercive or provocative unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions" in the sea.
Apart from China, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have overlapping claims to the South China Sea.