Leaders of the G7 nations gather in Japan for their latest summit where the war in Ukraine and China’s increasingly assertive foreign policy are expected to be high on the agenda

In Japan, police closed roads and cleared crowds from historic central Hiroshima on Thursday, before leaders arrived for the May 19-21 Group of Seven summit.

The G7 is an informal group of leading industrialized countries consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Dozens of police lined the road approaching the Peace Memorial Park, which houses the Atomic Bomb Dome, preserved as a reminder of the world’s first atomic attack in 1945.

Japan is the current host of the G7.

The President of the European Commission Ursula Von Der Leyen landed on the threshold of the summit and greeted warmly.

The talks are seen as crucial for the EU chief to address key areas where members’ cooperation can make a difference, in particular the war in Ukraine, security and economic resilience.

EU Council President Charles Michel also arrived in Hiroshima on Thursday.

Another topic on the agenda will be Beijing’s increasingly assertive foreign policy, particularly regarding Taiwan.

Shortly after arriving in Hiroshima, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni sat down with her Japanese counterpart and G7 President Fumio Kushida.

Meloni thanked Kushida for the warm welcome to the summit and that she looked forward to discussing ways to secure peace and stability.

Kishida also planned to hold meetings with US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak later in the day before the wider summit begins on Friday.

World leaders are again expected to strongly condemn Russia’s war against Ukraine while pledging continued support for Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will attend the session virtually.