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By Thomas Wilson and Kiyoshi Takenaka ISE-SHIMA, Japan (Reuters) - Group of Seven (G7) leaders agreed on Thursday on the need to send a strong message on maritime claims in the western Pacific, where an increasingly assertive China is locked in territorial disputes with Japan and several Southeast Asian nations. The agreement prompted a sharp rejoinder from China, which is not in the G7 club but whose rise as a power has put it at the heart of some discussions at the advanced nations' summit in Ise-Shima, central Japan. "Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe led discussion on the current situation in the South China Sea and East China Sea.
ISE-SHIMA (Reuters) - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told fellow Group of Seven leaders on Thursday that North Korea's nuclear and missile programs are also a concern to Europe, a top Japanese government official said. Chairing the first of two days of a G7 summit in central Japan, Abe told his counterparts that Pyongyang's development of nuclear technology and ballistic missiles poses a threat to international peace, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko told reporters. The prime minister also said it is important to have Russia's constructive engagement in neighboring Ukraine and said Japan is ready to extend a fresh $500 million in aid to Iraq, Seko said.