G-7 ministers to urge respect for court rulings in territory disputes


TOKYO — Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven gathering in Japan next week will call on nations engaged in territorial disputes to abide by court rulings, sending a thinly veiled message to China to follow international law.

The communique issued after the ministerial meeting in Hiroshima that ends Monday will not mention China by name. But it will indirectly express serious concerns about China’s natural gas development in the East China Sea and its military base construction in the South China Sea.

The G-7 has affirmed the rule of law and freedom of navigation in past statements. But the ministers will address the tensions in these waters more strongly than in their previous declaration, reflecting the uptick in Chinese activity. They are being spurred in part by the Philippines’ case against China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. Manila says Beijing is making illegal territorial claims in the South China Sea. A ruling is expected in the coming weeks. China did not agree to arbitration.