(TibetanReview.net, May21’23) – China has brushed aside the G7 countries’ calls on it May 20 for constructive ties and instead criticized them bitterly for a range of issues they have raised against it during their summit in Hiroshima, Japan, over May 19-21. These issues included human rights, Xinjiang and Tibet as well as China’s aggressive extra-territorial assertions which have unnerved many of its land and maritime neighbouring countries.
In their communique released on May 20, the leaders of the club of the world’s top seven wealthiest democracies struck a balance between seeking cooperation in areas like climate change and pushing back against Beijing’s increasingly assertive posture, which has upended decades-old assumptions about the global balance of power. They also expressed concerns about Beijing’s claims in the East and South China Seas, as well as its crackdowns on freedoms in Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang, noted aljazeera.com May 21.
The gathering took place amid growing calls among Western officials for coordinated action to counter Beijing, particularly in the US, where President Joe Biden has made competition with Beijing a central pillar of his foreign policy.
China’s foreign ministry late May 20 rejected the G7 statement as an example of interference in its internal affairs and said it had complained to Japan, the G7 host.
The official Xinhua news agency May 20 cited the spokesperson as saying despite China’s serious concerns, the G7 used issues concerning China to smear and attack China and brazenly interfere in China’s internal affairs. “China strongly deplores and firmly opposes this and has made serious demarches to the summit’s host Japan and other parties concerned.”
The spokesperson has maintained that “affairs related to Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet are purely China’s internal affairs,” stressing that “China firmly opposes interference by any external force in those affairs under the pretext of human rights.”
However, in their communique the G7 leaders have said, “Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China nor do we seek to thwart China’s economic progress and development.”
“A growing China that plays by international rules would be of global interest.”
The G7 — made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — has made it clear that it would respond to challenges posed by China’s “non-market policies and practices”, counter “malign practices”, and “foster resilience to economic coercion”.
Japan and European members, however, have been seen as more cautious than the US to antagonize Beijing due to their heavy dependence on Chinese trade, raising questions about how far such measures might go, noted the noted aljazeera.com report.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said at the end of a G7 summit, “China poses the biggest challenge of our age to global security and prosperity, they are increasingly authoritarian at home and assertive abroad.”
“This is all about de-risking, not de-coupling,” news.sky.com May 21 quoted him as saying.
But Sunak has earlier been criticized publicly by two former leaders of the ruling Conservative Party, including former Prime Minister Liz Truss, who renewed her calls for Confucius Institutes that currently operate in the United Kingdom to be shut down, in line with Sunak’s leadership election pledge, rfa.org had noted May 19.