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HIROSHIMA, Japan — China on Saturday faced a strong pushback from the Group of Seven countries over its stances on Russia, Taiwan, trade bullying, economic monopoly and domestic interference, with the G7 leaders’ statement reflecting a broad convergence of the U.S., Europe and Japan on a need to change tack.
Issued around the time of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s arrival in Hiroshima, where the summit is taking place, the statement by leaders of the G7 wealthy democracies asked Beijing to do more to stop Russia’s war on Ukraine.
“We call on China to press Russia to stop its military aggression, and immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw its troops from Ukraine,” the leaders said in the statement. “We encourage China to support a comprehensive, just and lasting peace based on territorial integrity and the principles and purposes of the U.N. Charter, including through its direct dialogue with Ukraine.”
Crucially, the U.S. and Europe — the two main constituents of the G7 — came round to a common set of language on China. For France and Germany, in particular, their focus on a conciliatory attitude to China was reflected in the final statement, which began the China section by stating “We stand prepared to build constructive and stable relations with China.”
The G7’s repeated emphasis of “de-risking, not decoupling” is a nod to the EU approach to China, as European member countries are wary of completely cutting off business ties with Beijing.
The language on Taiwan remained the same compared with recent statements. “We reaffirm the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as indispensable to security and prosperity in the international community,” the statement said, adding there’s “no change in the basic positions” in terms of the one China policies.
Apart from Russia, another new element this year is the mention of domestic interference — which human rights groups say is a reflection of the growing concern about China’s “overseas police stations” in other countries. “We call on China … not to conduct interference activities aimed at undermining the security and safety of our communities, the integrity of our democratic institutions and our economic prosperity,” the leaders said in their statement, citing the Vienna Convention which regulates diplomatic affairs.
On global economics, both sides of the Atlantic and Japan now see the need to fundamentally change the overall dynamic of economic globalization, placing security at the front of policy considerations.
“Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China nor do we seek to thwart China’s economic progress and development. A growing China that plays by international rules would be of global interest,” the G7 leaders said in the statement.
“We are not decoupling or turning inwards. At the same time, we recognize that economic resilience requires de-risking and diversifying. We will take steps, individually and collectively, to invest in our own economic vibrancy. We will reduce excessive dependencies in our critical supply chains,” they said.
One central theme is economic coercion, where China has punished a wide range of countries — from Japan and Australia to Lithuania and South Korea — over the decade when political disagreements arose.
The G7 countries launched a new “coordination platform on economic coercion” to “increase our collective assessment, preparedness, deterrence and response to economic coercion,” according to the statement. They also plan to coordinate with other partners to further the work on this.
The joint call for diverse sources of critical minerals, while stopping short of naming China, is widely seen as targeted against the Asian superpower that controls, for instance, 70 percent of global rare earths output. The G7 countries “support open, fair, transparent, secure, diverse, sustainable, traceable, rules and market-based trade in critical minerals” and “oppose market-distorting practices and monopolistic policies on critical minerals,” according to the statement.
They also vow to deliver the goal of mobilizing up to $600 billion in financing for quality infrastructure through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment, a rival to China’s Belt and Road initiative. “We will mobilize the private sector for accelerated action to this end,” they said.
In a bilateral in Hiroshima, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron “welcomed the strong unity of purpose at the G7 on … our collective approach to the economic threat posed by China,” a spokesperson for Sunak’s office said.