Hiroshima, Japan, May 20 (EFE).- The leaders of the G7 on Saturday discussed the various challenges posed by China, including the security situation in the Taiwan Strait and in the East China and South China Seas, economic reliance on Chinese goods and Beijing’s influence over Moscow with regards to the war in Ukraine.
In a joint statement, the leaders of Germany, Canada, United States, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union, acknowledged the necessity of cooperating with China while also recognizing “that economic resilience requires de-risking and diversifying.”
“We will take steps, individually and collectively, to invest in our own economic vibrancy (…) to reduce excessive dependencies in our critical supply chains,” the leaders said, insisting that these measures are “not designed to harm China” nor “thwart China’s economic progress and development.”
They also promised to “counter malign practices, such as illegitimate technology transfer or data disclosure” which “distort the global economy”, while pledging to “foster resilience to economic coercion.”
“We will work together to ensure that attempts to weaponize economic dependencies by forcing G7 members and our partners including small economies to comply and conform will fail and face consequences,” the group said.
The group expressed concern about a “disturbing rise in incidents of economic coercion that seek to exploit economic vulnerabilities and dependencies and undermine the foreign and domestic policies and positions of G7 members as well as partners around the world.”
Regarding Taiwan, which Beijing views as a breakaway province over which it claims sovereignty, the G7 said “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait” is “indispensable to security and prosperity in the international community,” and repeated its call “for a peaceful resolution” to cross-Strait tensions.
The leaders also said they were “seriously concerned” about China’s growing maritime influence in the East and South China Seas, saying there is “no legal basis” for Beijing’s “expansive” claims and insisting that they “oppose China’s militarization activities” in the region.
“We strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion,” the statement said.
Much of Friday’s meetings were focused on reaffirming the group’s unwavering support for Ukraine in its defense against Russian invading forces, a topic which the joint statement again addressed when urging Beijing to “press” Moscow to “stop its military aggression.”
“We encourage China to support a comprehensive, just and lasting peace based on territorial integrity and the principles and purposes of the UN Charter, including through its direct dialogue with Ukraine,” the leaders said.
The G7, among other issues, also urged China to better protect and defend human rights in Tibet and Xinjiang, while also calling on Beijing to “honor its commitments” to “enshrine rights, freedoms and a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong.”
In response, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in the United Kingdom accused the G7 of “grossly interfering” in China’s internal affairs and of seeking to “sow discord” and “create camp confrontation” on territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas.
“We urge the G7 to discard the Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice, stop grossly interfering in other countries’ internal affairs, stop the practice of forming small circles for bloc confrontation, and stop deliberately creating antagonism and division in the international community,” the embassy spokesman said.
“Any words or deeds that harm China’s interests will be met with firm and resolute countermeasures,” the statement warned. EFE