G7 Leaders Signal Strong Stance on Russia, Emphasize Concerns about China
As an important step aimed at sending a signal to Russia, the G7 leaders invited Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to take part in their summit, which took place in Hiroshima on May 19-21. Zelensky's inclusion underlined the G7's firm stance on Russia and its support for Ukraine.
In addition, the G7 leaders introduced a new wave of global sanctions against Russia, emphasizing its status as a country subjected to the most severe sanctions in the world. The leaders outlined plans to improve the effectiveness of existing financial sanctions against the military actions of President Vladimir Putin. The latest sanctions impose stricter restrictions on individuals and companies already under sanctions and participating in military operations. The United States, for example, has imposed sanctions on more than 125 individuals and organizations in 20 countries.
President Joe Biden announced an additional $375 million package of military assistance to Ukraine, including armored combat vehicles and artillery. He also expressed optimism about the future improvement of relations between the United States and China, which are at one of the lowest levels in recent decades.
Russia previously participated in some summits along with seven other countries, but was excluded from the then "Big Eight" after the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
The G7 leaders also expressed concern about China's transformation into a formidable competitor. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stressed that China poses the greatest challenge to global security and prosperity this century, citing its growing authoritarianism both domestically and internationally.
The Group of Seven issued two statements outlining its positions on contentious issues in the Indo-Pacific region and Taiwan, focusing on "economic coercion." China's investment policy has been criticized for burdening developing countries with unsustainable debts. In recent years, China has not hesitated to take trade measures in response to alleged neglect, such as cutting imports from Australia because of its call for an independent investigation into the causes of the pandemic, targeting South Korea because of its decision to host an American missile system, and taking action against Lithuania after it allowed Taiwan to create the de facto embassy. The Group of Seven stated that such coercion is aimed at undermining the foreign and domestic policies of the members of the Group of Seven and other partners around the world.
The leaders reaffirmed their goal of securing up to $600 billion in funding under a program aimed at providing countries with an alternative to Chinese investment.
The G7 leaders advocated a policy of "risk reduction", consistent with the approach of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, which is a more moderate version of the American concept of "separation" from China. They have also launched a "coordination platform" to counter coercion and cooperate with emerging economies. Although the specific details of this platform remain unclear, it is expected that it will involve countries supporting each other by stimulating trade or providing financing to circumvent Chinese blockades. Strengthening critical supply chains, improving digital infrastructure and implementing multilateral export controls are among the measures planned by the G7. The United States, Japan and the Netherlands have already imposed export controls, including a ban on the export of chips and technology to China.
Demonstrating continuity in their position towards Russia and recognizing China's role in resolving the Ukrainian crisis, the G7 leaders expressed their readiness to develop constructive and stable relations with China. They recognized China's position in the world community and its economic importance in solving global problems and protecting common interests. The leaders explained that their political approaches were not aimed at harming China or hindering its economic progress and development. They stressed the importance of China's compliance with international rules, arguing that a growing China acting within these rules will benefit the whole world. The Group of Seven reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining interaction and avoiding isolation, and also recognized the need to reduce risks and diversify to ensure economic sustainability.
During the summit, the G7 leaders also discussed initiatives to strengthen the global economy and overcome the growing pressure faced by families and government budgets as a result of rising prices. This problem particularly affects developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Despite the diplomatic rhetoric used during the summit, further tightening of the G7 coalition's policy towards China and Russia is expected. The Union of Leading Economies seems determined to reduce China's economic influence by imposing restrictions on its export potential and curbing expansion in regions of significant interest to the United States and its allies. It is noteworthy that these regions include the territories of the former Soviet Union, as well as promising but underdeveloped areas in Africa. The future looks difficult for China, as well as for the international community, which has long been concerned about the consequences of Chinese economic downturns. The recent Covid-19 pandemic is a prime example of this phenomenon.
The meeting in Yevlakh ended /UPDATED/
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