G7: Standing up to China’s economic coercion
While the G7 leaders were sending a strong message to Russia by inviting Volodymyr Zelensky to Hiroshima, another opponent – China – was also on their thoughts.
China, according to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, is “the greatest challenge of our age” in terms of global security and prosperity, and it is “increasingly authoritarian at home and abroad.”
And, in not one but two statements, the leaders of the world’s wealthiest democracies made their positions on contentious topics such as the Indo-Pacific and Taiwan apparent to Beijing. However, the most significant aspect of their message was centered on what they referred to as “economic coercion.”
The G7 must do a delicate balancing act. Their economies have become closely linked to China through trade, but competition with Beijing has increased, and they differ on many issues, notably human rights.
They are now concerned that they are being held captive.
In recent years, Beijing has been unafraid to impose trade restrictions on countries that have irritated it. This includes South Korea, which deployed a US missile defense system, and Australia, which had a recent tense relationship with the US.
The European Union was particularly concerned when China restricted Lithuanian exports following the Baltic country’s decision to allow Taiwan to establish a de facto embassy there.
As a result, it is predictable that the G7 has condemned what they view as a “disturbing rise” in the “weaponisation of economic vulnerabilities.”
They claimed that this coercion is intended to “undermine the foreign and domestic policies and positions of G7 members as well as partners around the world.”