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Summit Statement Following G7 Meeting Will Target 'Economic Coercion' Of China: Reuters


Summit Statement Following G7 Meeting Will Target 'Economic Coercion' Of China: Reuters
Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) countries are poised to highlight concerns about China's use of "economic coercion" in its dealings with other countries as part of their bigger joint statement next week, said a report from Reuters quoting information from US official involved with the preparations.
The statement, which is expected to be part of the overall communique issued by leaders during the May 19-21 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, will be accompanied by a broader written proposal outlining how the seven advanced economies will work together to counter "economic coercion" from any country.
The main G7 statement will include "a section specific to China" with a list of concerns, including "economic coercion and other behaviour that we have seen specifically from the [People's Republic of China]," according to an official on Friday.
According to the person, a separate "economic security statement will speak more to tools" used to oppose coercive efforts from any countries implicated, including preparation and cooperation. In each case, the statements are expected to go further than previous G7 statements.
President Joe Biden of the United States has made China a priority in his foreign policy, attempting to preserve the hostile and competitive relationship from devolving into outright conflict, notably over self-ruled Taiwan.
The Group of Seven (G7), which also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom, is economically linked to China, the world's largest exporter and a significant market for many of the seven countries' businesses.
Last month, China denounced a G7 foreign ministers' declaration on comparable themes as "full of arrogance, prejudice against China," and submitted concerns with this year's G7 host, Japan.
Under Biden's predecessor, President Donald Trump, G7 statements frequently included merely a passing reference to China-related issues. The administration of Vice President Joe Biden has pushed for more direct declarations.
Every year, the G7 leaders release a joint statement to demonstrate that the major countries are united on a variety of political and economic issues.
G7 nations will also raise the idea of expanded cooperation with China in areas such as climate.
"We're not for decoupling the U.S. and Chinese economy, we are for de-risking, we are for diversifying," said the U.S. official. "That principle is very unifying."
Negotiations over the specific phrasing of the leaders' joint declarations are still ongoing before they are revealed during the summit.
The G7 conference will be a litmus test for how far the nations, all of which are rich democracies, can agree on a single strategy to China, the world's second largest economy.
The China terms have been a prominent topic of discussion for G7 financial chiefs in Niigata, Japan, where they have focused on reducing their countries' "over-reliance" on Chinese manufacturing, especially by cooperating with low- and middle-income countries.
"The U.S. wants to get something hard on paper down in terms of agreement and the other countries are interested, but they're not as interested in putting specifics down on paper on these various instruments and economic statecraft tools," said Josh Lipsky, senior director of the Atlantic Council's GeoEconomics Center.
Some G7 members, in particular, are sceptical of signing up to limits on foreign investment in China.
Many in the Biden administration saw the rules as complimentary to export limits restricting access to some semiconductors, which have the same aim.
"Of course, each member of the G7 is to some extent going to carve their own path on China and yet there are also a set of kind of principles that unite the G7 in a common approach to China," said the U.S. official.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who is in Japan for the G7 finance summit, stated on Thursday that China had definitely used economic coercion with Australia and Lithuania.
A lack of progress in resolving the US debt ceiling crisis hung over the summit. A meeting between Biden and top senators set on Friday has been postponed until early next week as Biden's Democrats and Republicans seek an agreement to avert a catastrophic default.
Nonetheless, US officials expect the president to attend the two-day summit as scheduled, followed by travels to Papua New Guinea and Australia aimed at bolstering Washington's approach to the China-dominated Asia-Pacific region.