The Group of Seven finance ministers said Friday they will support an extension of an international debt relief program to help poor countries take measures against the coronavirus pandemic.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said China's involvement in the initiative, led by the Group of 20 major economies and Paris Club traditional creditor nations, is "insufficient" and called for raising pressure on the country to abide by the program.

"We remain committed to working together to support the poorest and most vulnerable countries as they address health and economic challenges associated with COVID-19," the G-7 finance chiefs said in a joint statement released after a teleconference.

"Recognizing the ongoing financial needs of low-income countries, we support extending the DSSI," they said, referring to the debt relief initiative, called the G-20-Paris Club Debt Service Suspension Initiative.

In the statement, the ministers also said they "strongly regret the decision by some countries" to mitigate the effectiveness of the initiative by classifying their state-owned financial institutions as commercial lenders.

Aso named China when speaking to reporters after the teleconference.

"China's engagement in (the initiative) is totally insufficient, so I said that we (the G-7) should put stronger pressure on China," he said.

In July, the G-20 economies including China, a major creditor to developing countries, agreed to consider a possible extension of the debt payment suspension period, which has been set from May 1 through the end of this year.

The G-20 finance ministers, including those from the G-7, will continue to discuss the issue at a virtual meeting in mid-October.

"G-20 and Paris Club official bilateral creditors are continuing to coordinate closely to provide full and transparent relief under the DSSI," said the G-7 statement.

But it also said, "DSSI implementation has faced shortcomings that have prevented the initiative from delivering its full potential."

The G-7 members are Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States plus the European Union.

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