Can the G7 take a united stance on China? – DW – 05/18/2023

leader of Group of Seven (G7) – a club of some of the world’s leading industrialized countries – are gathering in the Japanese city of Hiroshima from Friday for their annual summit.

West’s relations with China amid growing economic and political clout of BeijingRussia’s war in Ukraine, and the troubled state of the global economy top the agenda of their discussions.

The G7 – which includes the US, Japan, Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Canada – has in recent years grappled with the question of how to deal with China amid Beijing’s growing global economic influence and military power.

At the summit, G7 leaders are expected to voice concerns about what they see Beijing’s use of “economic coercion” around the world.

they say they are Not “isolating” their economies from China but “mitigating risk” Diversifying supply chains and markets to protect them from potential blackmail.

The US has called on the G7 countries to take a stronger position on Beijing.

Washington has already blocked China’s access to the most advanced semiconductors and the means to manufacture them. It has also put pressure on Japan and the Netherlands to follow suit.

But European countries such as Germany and France insist that the G7 is not an “anti-China coalition”. They also underlined that de-risking their economies does not mean breaking ties with the world’s second largest economy.

G7 Ministers meeting in Japan

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Highlighting the importance of rule-based ordering

G7 leaders will also discuss Chinese military activities in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea, and their impact on stability in the region.

But they will find it difficult to agree on any specific measures to counter Beijing’s growing power in the Indo-Pacific, said Robert Ward, director of geoeconomics and strategy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

“I suspect the G7 countries will not want to move China Because they could only fight on so many fronts, and the Ukraine issue would be huge,” he told DW.

Wenti Sung, a China expert at the Australian National University (ANU), said the G7 joint statement would include language highlighting their concern for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and reiterating the importance of a rules-based global order.

“I do not expect a strong security dimension to be included in the G7 joint statement,” he said. “But I look forward to a continuation of values-based language expressing support for Taiwan and the stability of the Taiwan Strait as a core element of global commerce and maritime freedom of navigation.”

China has always rejected foreign governments’ statements on Taiwan as interference in its domestic affairs.

Ward said Japan, however, was keen to present the island as an international issue that “everyone needs to be interested in.”

,[Japan thinks] Everyone needs to participate in preserving sustainability [across the Taiwan Strait],” He added.

How to list countries outside the group

Japan has also invited leaders of several non-G7 economies to this year’s gathering, including Australia, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Brazil and the African Union.

some of these countries have So far resisted Western calls for sanctions on Russia, And do not want to get into wider geopolitical conflicts. One of the G7 goals in Hiroshima, Ward said, is to persuade them to join forces with the democratic world in opposition to Russia and China.

But Sana Hashmi, a postdoctoral fellow at the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation in Taipei, said there is “no coordination” between the G7 and other democracies on China policy.

“They want to focus on threats from China, and while the agenda is similar between the sub-groups and the G7, there is no coordination,” she pointed out.

Still, Ward said, US pressure for allies to take more responsibilities in maintaining regional stability could prompt a collective backlash against China. ,[The US] It recognized that it needed assistance from allies, especially in the Indo-Pacific region.

G7 to discuss ways to stop nuclear proliferation

This year’s G7 summit is taking place in Hiroshima, one of two Japanese cities bombed with nuclear weapons by the US in the final days of World War II.

China continues to export military equipment to Russia despite sanctions

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The choice of venue underscores Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s determination to put nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation at the top of the agenda.

The path to nuclear disarmament has appeared more difficult amid Moscow’s recent nuclear weapons threats in Ukraine, China’s growing nuclear stockpile and North Korea’s efforts to advance its nuclear and missile capabilities.

Russia has also suspended its participation in the New START nuclear weapons treaty with the US, a deal limiting their strategic stockpiles.

Tokyo has taken an anti-nuclear stance. But Japan, which is protected by the US nuclear umbrella, has faced criticism that its nuclear disarmament pledge is an empty promise.

Ward, from IISS, said Kishida would push to commit the G7 to creating conditions for further disarmament. But he doubts the efforts will produce any significant results at the summit.

Edited by: Srinivas Mazumdaru

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