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Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is in Germany for G7 foreign ministers meeting

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

G-7 foreign ministers are meeting today and tomorrow in Germany. That country's foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, says Russia's war in Ukraine is high on the agenda. She says diplomats are worried about the coming winter as Russia bombs energy infrastructure.

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ANNALENA BAERBOCK: If this keeps going on, children will not only hide under their table because they hear the bomb attacks, but they are in danger of being frozen to death because they don't have any electricity and any heating anymore.

SUMMERS: The German foreign minister was speaking alongside Secretary of State Antony Blinken before the meetings got underway. NPR's Michele Kelemen joins us now from Munster, Germany, where the G-7 is gathering. Hi, Michele.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Hi, Juana.

SUMMERS: So Michele, nothing is accidental in diplomacy. So tell us, why did Germany pick Munster?

KELEMEN: The Germans picked this city in the west of the country because it has a very famous diplomatic history. The Treaty of Westphalia was signed in Munster, ending the Thirty Years' War. We're talking about 1648? That was the year. So we're going way back in history here. Secretary Blinken said this treaty put in place some fundamental principles of international relations, principles that he says are actually being challenged by Russia in Ukraine today.

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ANTONY BLINKEN: And that is the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of nations. If we let that be challenged with impunity, then the foundations of the international order will start to erode and eventually crumble. And none of us can afford to let that happen.

KELEMEN: And Foreign Minister Baerbock echoed that when she opened the G-7 meeting in a room that she said represents peace and the rule of law.

SUMMERS: Now, this meeting comes as Germany's chancellor is preparing for a trip to China. There is also a big Chinese investment into the port in Hamburg. What are U.S. officials saying about that?

KELEMEN: Yeah. So the U.S. has been warning countries, including Germany, not to let China gain controlling interests in key sectors. That was the case in that port in Hamburg that you mentioned. And officials do seem satisfied that a new deal on that gives China a smaller stake in the port. The U.S. wants to make sure that all G-7 countries are aligned on China, preventing China from gaining access to sensitive Western technology and making sure that there are more resilient supply chains. This is going to be some of the talk at a working dinner here in Munster, Germany. Plus, there's Russia and the loose nuclear rhetoric. The U.S. wants to see China use its leverage with Moscow to ensure that Russia does not use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

SUMMERS: What else can you tell us about what the agenda looks like moving forward?

KELEMEN: Yeah. So Iran is a major focus. Tomorrow, Annalena Baerbock, the German foreign minister, says she wants to make sure that the G-7 leading democracies agree on ways to help the women who are protesting there in Iran. Take a listen.

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BAERBOCK: It's not only women. It's, like, the diversity of the Iran society is saying, well, this is enough, and we want to live in freedom like many other countries. So this is what we are doing here at G-7, bringing together our support for the people of Iran.

KELEMEN: And Secretary Blinken added to that. He said one of the things that they're talking about is how to help make sure Iranians have the ability to communicate with each other and with the outside world. So that means getting internet technology to Iranians.

In addition to that meeting on Iran, there's also a meeting tomorrow on Africa. The West has been competing for influence with China in Africa, too, as well as with Russia. So there's just a lot on the plate here in Munster.

SUMMERS: NPR's Michele Kelemen in Munster, Germany. Michele, thank you.

KELEMEN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Michele Kelemen has been with NPR for two decades, starting as NPR's Moscow bureau chief and now covering the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.