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Sunday, July 14, 2024

China’s Global Times Calls the G7 an Anti-China Workshop

State-backed Chinese mouthpiece Global Times called the G7 an “anti-China workshop” on Monday after Beijing summoned Japan’s envoy and berated Britain in a fiery response to statements issued at the weekend G7 summit in Hiroshima. A joint communique on Saturday singled out China on issues ranging from Taiwan and maritime claims to economic coercion and human rights, underscoring the tensions between Beijing and the group of rich countries, including the United States.

Japan’s Ambassador to China, Hideo Tarumi, was summoned to the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday for an emergency meeting with Assistant Foreign Minister Hua Chunying, who sternly criticized his country for joining the US and EU in smearing and attacking China. “Japan’s actions severely violate basic rules governing international relations and four China-Japan political documents,” the ministry said in a statement. It also undermined the “basic trust” between the two countries and seriously harmed the development of bilateral relations.

Chinese officials have been agitated by the G7’s criticisms of China’s treatment of Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong. The government has urged the Western powers to stop engaging in “discriminatory rhetoric” and start taking “responsible steps to address” human rights abuses worldwide by looking at their history of colonialism and their record on China-related issues.

In a move that appeared to respond to the criticism, the Foreign Ministry urged the G7 to “stop playing the role of a gang that tries to form exclusive blocs.” Beijing has insisted it won’t allow itself to be dragged into confrontation with the West and vowed to pursue its development path.

The G7’s stance on China is signaling that it is re-prioritizing the issue to deal with what it sees as growing threats. That’s a sign that many of its members want to approach Beijing with realism, given that they already know from painful experience how quickly it can strike back. That was demonstrated last spring when China cut off Chinese students from studying in Australia and imposed an 80 percent tariff on Australian barley exports over its demands for an independent inquiry into the source of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Despite the differences in China, the G7 has generally shown more unity than in previous years on how to deal with Russia and other hotspots on its agenda, like Iran and North Korea. The group has agreed to keep sanctions in place against both and to bolster measures such as curbs on Russian oil exports, which could have been weakened by opposition from some members. But the fact that it has also spelled out a standard line against what the US calls its “comprehensive strategy” on China suggests there are limits to how far that can go. This is likely a sticking point in the future. The US will want to be sure the other G7 members don’t become its own “accomplices in economic coercion.” But they may find it hard to do so.

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