The G7's anti-China strategy will undoubtedly fail
By Rabi Sankar Bosu  ·  2023-05-25  ·   Source: China Focus

The two summits held last week attracted worldwide attention.

First, the 49th Group of Seven (G7) Summit from May 19 to 21 in Hiroshima, Japan under the presidency of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was aimed to demonize China with the so-called “China threat” theory by hyping up “economic coercion” claim. It is nothing but a reflection of the U.S. hypocrisy.

The G7 summit this time had gained a special dimension in the atmosphere of the ongoing Ukraine crisis with the presence of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the final day of the summit. However, the gathering of the G7 leaders was overshadowed by protests and a tense atmosphere in Hiroshima, the city that had been rebuilt after the U.S. atomic bombing in 1945.

The other important summit was the groundbreaking China-Central Asia Summit on May 18-19 in Xi’an, capital city of China’s Shaanxi Province. It marks the beginning of a new era in China-Central Asia ties, playing a pivotal role in promoting security, development and cultural exchanges in the region and beyond. The Summit reflects China’s constructive approach to building international ties which is undoubtedly different from the hegemonic approach of G7 leaders.

G7’s anti-China voice: Birds of a feather flock together

Since becoming the U.S. President in early 2021, Joe Biden has sought to reframe the relationship with China and garner support from like-minded nations in responding to what officials in Washington and some other Western democracies refer to as “economic coercion,” an effort spurred by actions taken by former U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” moves against fellow G7 members.

However, it is increasingly clear that from the very beginning of his reign, Biden has increased diplomatic pressure on his allies, including European countries, Japan, Australia and South Korea, and forced them to take a strong chorus for the economic retribution against China as the U.S. subordinates under his Indo-Pacific strategy.

Biden has taken punitive actions against China in restricting trade and investment in the name of national security. While the Biden administration seeks to contain China with its Indo-Pacific strategy, Japan is happy to play the role as a vanguard for U.S. hegemony.

A demonstrator holds a placard at Hiroshima’s Funairi Daiichi Park in a protest against the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Hiroshima, Japan, May 19, 2023. (Photo/Xinhua)

Just prior to the G7 summit on May 18, Kishida and Biden met and discussed further strengthening deterrence of the Japan-U.S. alliance and decided to advance Japan-U.S.-South Korea cooperation. It is important to mention that on December 16, 2022, Prime Minister Kishida had unveiled Japan’s biggest military buildup since World War II to boost its defense capabilities “to ensure peace and prosperity in the region” by hyping up the so-called external threats. Japan’s new military ramp-up with a $320 billion plan for the next five years would allow Japan to retaliate and directly attack another country’s territory in emergency or specific situations. Upgrading the military alliance between the U.S. and Japan will have a corrosive effect on both the China-U.S. and China-Japan relationship.

Although the focus of the G7 summit at the highest political level should be major issues including the Ukraine crisis, global economic outlook and climate change, China became the main subject on the agenda. Frankly speaking, the Biden administration used the G7 summit as a tool to maintain its strategic competition and confrontation against China.

The Hiroshima Communiqué issued by G7 leaders on the second day of the summit took aim at China on issues including the South China Sea, human rights and alleged interference in their democracies. The G7 joint statement said: “A growing China that plays by international rules would be of global interest,” alluding to charges that China is undermining the “rules-based international order.” But the fact is that it is the U.S. which has been unilaterally perpetuating so called “international rules” for its own hegemonic goals.

China slams G7 Hiroshima joint statement

Quite justifiably, China expressed strong dissatisfaction with G7 Hiroshima Summit’s hyping up of China-related issues. Highlighting discrepancies between G7 claims and actions, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the era of Western manipulation and interference in the affairs of other countries is over. China made démarches to the summit’s host Japan and other parties concerned over their brazen interference in China’s internal affairs. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said “The G7 makes high-sounding claims about ’promoting a peaceful, stable and prosperous world’, but what it does is hindering international peace, undermining regional stability and curbing other countries’ development. That simply shows how little international credibility means to the G7”.

After revamping defense policy and defense spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2027 last December, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida has repeatedly stated that his only goal is to prevent tragedies like Hiroshima unfolding once again: “Ukraine today could be East Asia tomorrow.”

File photo taken on Oct. 12, 2017, shows huge tanks that store contaminated radioactive wastewater in Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. (Photo/Xinhua)

In today’s world, there is no sovereign nation that allows others to intervene in its internal affairs. The U.S. or any foreign entity has no rights to criticize or interfere in China’s internal affairs. President Biden and his allies must understand that issues related to Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet and Taiwan are purely China’s internal affairs.

G7’s irresponsible comments of situation in the Taiwan Strait provoked strongly-worded protests from China’s government and media: “The one-China principle is the solid anchor for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. The G7 keeps emphasizing cross-Strait peace, and yet says nothing about the need to oppose ‘Taiwan independence’. This in effect constitutes connivance and support for ‘Taiwan independence’ forces, and will only result in having a serious impact on cross-Strait peace and stability”, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

Although President Biden and other Western leaders said on different occasions in different contexts that their “one-China policy” has not changed, this G7 communiqué is a distinct interference in China’s domestic affairs under Washington’s dirty strategic intentions to support “Taiwan independence” forces in political, military and economic dimensions.

In conclusion, it is entirely reasonable for China to slam the Hiroshima joint statement by stating that resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for China and a matter that must be resolved by China.

Who is the real economic coercer?

On May 20, G7 leaders unveiled the “Coordination Platform on Economic Coercion,” a new framework for countering the use of punitive trade practices for political goals. In their joint statement on economic resilience and economic security, the G7 said that countries attempting to use trade as a weapon would face consequences, a veiled reference to China over its trade practices.

It is very interesting that when G7 leaders talked about the importance of cultivating resilience to economic coercion, these countries have different interests and levels of economic engagement with China. For example, European countries like Germany and France stress that the G7 is not an “anti-China alliance.”

This photo taken on Mar. 21, 2023 shows metal barricades placed near the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., the United States. (Photo/Xinhua)

As for “economic coercion,” the statement of the Chinese Foreign Ministry noted that the massive unilateral sanctions and acts of “decoupling” and disrupting industrial and supply chains make the U.S. the real coercer that politicizes and weaponizes economic and trade relations. On May 21, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong rejected accusations of “economic coercion” and “debt trap,” and said the United States is the initiator of breaking the international order and rules and disrupting the world economy. He urged the G7 not to become an accomplice in U.S. economic coercion.

It is the U.S.’s coercive diplomacy that has caused immense suffering for the developing countries across the world. According to a report titled “America’s Coercive Diplomacy and Its Harm” published by Xinhua News Agency on May 18: “The United States’ coercive diplomacy has a notorious record.” The U.S. violates the principle of fair trade and imposing tariffs on China: Tech blockade against China in the semiconductor sector; Using state power to suppress China’s high-tech enterprises… On China alone, the U.S. has spared no efforts to bring about all-round suppression, even coercing its Western allies to side with it in targeting China.

G7 does not represent the just international community but serves as a political tool for ensuring U.S. hegemony. The other six members of the G7 club should first discuss how the U.S. has been coercing them so far.

China is not a “threat to the rules-based international order,” rather it is now a major supporter to the international order based on UN Charter, and the largest trading partner of more than 130 countries and regions, and its trade with the world has benefited billions of people. China has always worked to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development and preserve international order. It is hoped that the G7 members should stop containing and bludgeoning other countries.

China’s foreign diplomacy through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Global Development Initiative (GDI), the Global Security Initiative (GSI) and the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI) is to build a community with a shared future for mankind and create a beautiful future while upholding world peace and promoting common development to counter Western propaganda and actions to hinder the progress of human civilizations.

The author is an Indian analyst and commentator. He focuses on China’s development, China-India relations and the Belt and Road Initiative.

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