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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

G7 Leaders Pledge to Counter China’s ‘Malign’ Practices and Tackle Economic Coercion

WorldAsia-PacificG7 Leaders Pledge to Counter China's 'Malign' Practices and Tackle Economic Coercion

Hiroshima, Japan – In a united front against China’s perceived “malign” practices, Group of Seven (G7) leaders have vowed to launch a new initiative to counter economic coercion and reduce supply chain dependency. The G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, witnessed discussions on the challenges posed by China’s non-market policies and practices distorting the global economy. The leaders, representing Japan, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States, emphasized their commitment to protect their economies and challenge China’s actions without explicitly naming the country.

The communique issued at the end of the summit emphasized the need to counter illegitimate technology transfer and data disclosure, two practices associated with China’s actions. While the G7 leaders denied accusations of decoupling from China, they expressed their intent to “derisk” the relationship, ensuring the protection of advanced technologies crucial for national security. The leaders also acknowledged the necessity of reducing dependency on China in critical supply chains, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding the economies of the G7 and its allies.

China’s response to the summit was marked by criticism, with the Chinese foreign ministry accusing the G7 and host country Japan of vilifying and violently meddling in China’s internal affairs. The ministry launched a solemn protest, condemning the manipulation of the China-related agenda and the support for Taiwanese separatists. The Chinese government cited references to Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang, claiming that the G7’s stance would cause instability and serious repercussions in the Taiwan Strait.

While the war in Ukraine was a key theme of the summit, with President Volodymyr Zelensky in attendance and the bloc tightening sanctions on Russia, the G7 also aimed to present a united stance towards China. Discussions revolved around issues such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, the South China Sea, human rights, and China’s build-up of its nuclear arsenal. The communique reiterated the opposition to any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion and expressed concern over China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea.

To address the rise in incidents of economic coercion, the G7 leaders announced the establishment of the Coordination Platform on Economic Coercion. This platform will utilize an early warning system and rapid information sharing to develop coordinated responses and deter such practices. The G7 countries also pledged to support the supply chains of middle and low-income countries, ensuring their resilience and reducing vulnerability.

The new initiative to counter economic coercion comes in response to recent incidents involving China’s use of coercive economic measures against countries like Australia and Lithuania. The G7 leaders highlighted China’s recent actions, where it employed its economic power to impose barriers on imports as a form of punishment. The summit also emphasized the importance of preventing cutting-edge technologies developed by member states from being leaked and misused for military purposes.

While the G7 leaders affirmed their shared responsibility and determination, they reiterated that each country maintains its own independent relationship and approach to China. The United States White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, assured that the communique should not surprise China, as the concerns of the G7 states are well known to the country. The Chinese foreign ministry cautioned against underestimating China’s determination to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The G7 summit’s firm stance against China’s practices signifies a growing global concern regarding its policies and actions. With the commitment to counter economic coercion and reduce supply chain dependency, the G7 leaders aim to safeguard their economies while addressing the challenges posed by China’s non-market practices. The impact of this initiative on the broader geopolitical landscape and China’s response will undoubtedly shape future relations between the G7 and China.

In response to the G7 summit’s stance against China, the Chinese foreign ministry strongly criticized the G7 countries, accusing them of supporting Taiwan separatist forces. China claimed that such support would have severe implications for the stability of the Taiwan Strait. The ministry emphasized China’s determination, will, and power to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, sending a clear message that China is resolute in safeguarding its interests.

Furthermore, the Chinese foreign ministry accused the G7 of meddling in China’s domestic affairs. By mentioning sensitive regions like Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, the G7 was seen as attempting to provoke conflicts and create rivalries. China expressed its discontent with the bloc’s involvement in these matters, asserting that it should refrain from interfering in China’s internal affairs.

The Chinese foreign ministry also warned the G7 countries against becoming “accomplices” in the United States’ efforts at economic coercion. China claimed that the G7’s actions were aligning with the US agenda, which it considered an attempt to manipulate international affairs and exert economic pressure on China. China urged the G7 countries not to participate in these coercive measures and called for a more independent and balanced approach.

China further stated that the days of Western countries recklessly intervening in other nations’ domestic affairs and manipulating international affairs are over. This assertion reflected China’s perception that it is no longer willing to tolerate what it views as unwarranted interference from Western nations.

Even before the plan to counter economic coercion was unveiled, Chinese embassies in Britain and Canada preemptively criticized the G7’s initiative. The Chinese embassy in London asserted that China was a victim of economic coercion by the United States through export sanctions and discrimination against certain state enterprises. Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy in Canada, through Ambassador Cong Peiwu, accused the US of pressuring its allies to form a “small circle” against China. Cong Peiwu called on the G7 leaders to abandon their Cold War mentality and adopt a more constructive approach in their relations with China.

These responses from the Chinese foreign ministry and its embassies indicate China’s concerns and objections to the G7’s actions and highlight the escalating tensions between China and the Western bloc. China’s strong rhetoric underscores its determination to protect its interests, sovereignty, and territorial integrity while urging the G7 countries to reconsider their approach.

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