The Associated Press
The Group of Seven leading industrial nations urged the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to pressure its strategic partner Russia to end its war on Ukraine, while also calling on Beijing to resolve territorial disputes peacefully.
In a joint statement issued during their May 2023 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, G7 leaders emphasized that they were seeking “constructive and stable relations” with Beijing, “recognizing the importance of engaging candidly with and expressing our concerns directly to China.”
“We call on China to press Russia to stop its military aggression, and immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw its troops from Ukraine,” the statement said. “We encourage China to support a comprehensive, just and lasting peace based on territorial integrity and the principles and purposes” of the United Nations Charter.
Cooperation with the PRC is necessary given its global role and economic size, the group said in appealing for working together on challenges such as climate change, biodiversity, debts and financing needs of vulnerable countries, global health and economic stability.
But the leaders expressed “serious concern” about the situation in the East and South China seas. In the latter, Beijing has been expanding its military presence and threatening to forcibly seize self-governed Taiwan, which it claims as its territory even though the island has never been part of the PRC.
The G7 leaders called for a “peaceful resolution.” Their statement said there is “no legal basis for China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea, and we oppose China’s militarization activities in the region.”
“A growing China that plays by international rules would be of global interest,” they said.
The G7, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, also united in voicing concerns about human rights in the PRC, including in Tibet, Hong Kong and Xinjiang. (Pictured: Group of Seven leaders and other officials gather during the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, in May 2023.)
The statement also sought to counter accusations that the G7 is seeking to prevent the PRC’s rise as a global power.
“Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China, nor do we seek to thwart China’s economic progress and development,” the leaders said. The statement highlighted a consensus that efforts to diversify manufacturing supply chains and ensure stable access to strategically vital minerals and other resources are not aimed at unraveling trade ties with the world’s second-largest economy.
“We are not decoupling or turning inwards,” the statement said. “At the same time, we recognize that economic resilience requires de-risking and diversifying. We will take steps, individually and collectively, to invest in our own economic vibrancy. We will reduce excessive dependencies in our critical supply chains.”
At the same time, G7 members vowed to stand against “economic coercion,” saying they “will counter malign practices, such as illegitimate technology transfer or data disclosure,” while also avoiding “unduly limiting trade and investment.”
In a statement, the Chinese foreign ministry accused the G7 of attempting “to smear and attack China and brazenly interfere in China’s internal affairs.”
Taiwan, meanwhile, thanked the G7 for its support.
“Taiwan will stand alongside with democracies and communities of the world to cooperate in defusing the risks,” Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said during a news conference. “Nowadays, the consensus around the world is very clear, which is the fact that cross-strait issues have to be solved in a peaceful manner. War is not an option.”
IMAGE CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES