G-7 Leaders Respond to China’s Economic Bullying at Hiroshima Summit, Warn of ‘Consequences’

HIROSHIMA, Japan—Economic security was a major focus on the second day of the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in Hiroshima, with leaders outlining actions to counter Beijing’s “economic coercion” and non-market practices.

The G-7 countries—the United States, the U.K., Japan, Canada, Germany, France, and Italy—announced on May 20 their plan to address “disturbing rise in incidents of economic coercion.”

“We will work together to ensure that attempts to weaponize economic dependencies by forcing G7 members and our partners including small economies to comply and conform will fail and face consequences,” G-7 Leaders’ statement read.

“We express serious concern over economic coercion and call on all countries to refrain from its use.”

The G-7 countries agreed to strengthen collaboration by establishing the “Coordination Platform on Economic Coercion” to improve their “collective assessment, preparedness, deterrent, and reaction to economic coercion.”

National security advisor Jake Sullivan who briefed reporters on May 19 on the sidelines of the G-7 Summit, said the leaders agreed to deploy “a common set of tools” to confront China’s efforts.

“These economic security tools will include steps to build resilience in our supply chains. They will also include steps to protect sensitive technology like export controls and outbound investment measures,” Sullivan said.

However, the leaders are emphasizing that their goal is to de-risk, not decouple from China.

“Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China nor do we seek to thwart China’s economic progress and development,” according to the G-7 Summit communique released on May 20.

“A growing China that plays by international rules would be of global interest. We are not decoupling or turning inwards. At the same time, we recognize that economic resilience requires de-risking and diversifying.”

Leveraging Economic Power

In recent years, China has increased its efforts to leverage its economic might to force political change around the world.

For example, after Australia called for an independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19 in April 2020, the communist regime announced trade sanctions on select Australian products.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
An employee works as Australian-made wine (on display shelves on the right) at a store in Beijing on Aug. 18, 2020, the same day that the Chinese regime ramped up tensions with Australia after it launched a probe into wine imports from the country, the latest salvo in a bitter row after the Australian government called for a probe into the origins of COVID-19. (Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images)

The Chinese regime’s economic coercion of Australia has served as a “wake-up call” to other countries, Liz Truss, the U.K.’s Foreign Secretary at the time, warned.

There have been other instances of Chinese coercion in the past, including with Japan, which saw Chinese shipments of rare earth metals blocked due to a territorial dispute in 2010. South Korea faced business boycotts from China in 2017 after installing a U.S. missile defense system. And recently, Beijing retaliated against Lithuania after it attempted to strengthen ties with Taiwan.

China has recently pressured U.S. companies as well. For example, in reaction to the U.S. placing export bans on advanced semiconductors, Beijing launched a probe into memory chip company Micron. Furthermore, in March, Chinese police stormed the Beijing office of Mintz Group, an American due diligence firm, and detained five Chinese citizens working for the company. Later, Chinese police questioned employees at the Shanghai branch of Bain & Co., an American consulting firm.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warned about China’s economic coercion ahead of the G-7 meeting today.

The leaders are expected to announce the formation of a new G7 Coordination Platform on Economic Coercion and this platform “will address the growing and pernicious use of coercive economic measures to interfere in the sovereign affairs of other states,” Sunak said in his remarks before the meeting. “We should be clear-eyed about the growing challenge we face. China is engaged in a concerted and strategic economic contest.”

‘Direct and Candid’

Sullivan was asked if the G-7 statement, which will be released soon, will worsen U.S.-China ties.

“I think you will find the China language to be totally straightforward. It is not hostile or gratuitous. It is just direct and candid,” he responded. “It is a multi-dimensional, complex policy for a complex relationship with a really important country.”

Also, in response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, G-7 leaders will propose a strategy to boost infrastructure investments in underdeveloped countries.

The leaders are also promising not to rely on China for critical minerals and to take steps to build diverse and resilient supply chains for clean energy, which will be included in the G-7 statement.

According to a source close to the summit discussions, the G-7 leaders are more united on China this year than they were two years ago. There has been more progress and agreement on what concrete actions the G-7 could take, the source told The Epoch Times.

However, there are still some disagreements over how to implement these actions, which demands governments be more creative to overcome differences, the person added.

The G-7 leaders are also expected to issue a statement concerning Taiwan during the summit.

An important focus of this year’s summit is “Outreach to the Global South,” according to the agenda, which intends to increase outreach to Latin America, Africa, the rest of Asia, and the Pacific to counter China’s growing influence in these regions.

To that end, a record number of leaders have been invited to this year’s summit, including representatives of Australia, the Republic of Korea, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Comoros (representing the African Union), and the Cook Islands (representing the Pacific Island Forum).

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