The G7 prepares a unified response to China’s “economic coercion”

G7 leaders plan to announce measures in response to China’s “economic coercion” on Saturday, as the group of advanced economies seeks to adopt a common approach to Beijing.

British officials said they would unveil a “platform” at the G7 summit in Hiroshima to provide a forum to identify economic vulnerabilities and coordinate defense measures.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak opens a summit on economic security by saying China is using trade measures to pressure countries including Australia and Lithuania over political disputes.

“The platform will address the growing and damaging use of coercive economic measures to interfere in the sovereign affairs of other states,” Sunak said in remarks released ahead of the meeting.

“We must see the growing challenge before us with clear eyes. China is engaged in coordinated and strategic economic competition,” he said.

A US official said the G7 countries – the US, UK, Japan, Canada, Germany, France and Italy – are outlining a common toolbox to use to address shared concerns, both with China and others. countries”.

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Another official attending the G7 talks said the tools would be used in “very specific areas,” such as national security and the World Trade Organization.

In recent months, China has imposed sanctions on U.S. arms manufacturers Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, launched an investigation into U.S. chip maker Micron, raided U.S. due diligence firm Mintz, and detained a local executive of Japan’s Astellas Pharma group.

President Xi Jinping’s administration is considering limiting Western access to materials and technologies critical to the global auto industry, a review by China’s commerce ministry shows.

The U.S. official said the G7 will also issue a summit communiqué on Saturday highlighting a “joint approach to China.”

The announcement comes a day earlier than planned, as leaders are expected to focus on Ukraine on Sunday. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will travel to Asia for the first time since Russia invaded his country to attend the summit in person.

The coordination with China follows two years of efforts by the US administration of Joe Biden, with the help of Japan, to strengthen the unity of the G7 members in the face of challenges posed by Beijing.

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European officials say the G7 will keep a “clear eye” on China, maintaining that coordinated action is stronger than unilateral action by individual countries.

“We want to avoid misunderstandings [with Chinese leaders]but confront them if necessary,” one official added.

However, China on Friday attacked the G7’s expression of “economic coercion”.

“The US often accuses other nations of taking advantage of their great power status. . . and economic coercion to force compliance and begin coercive diplomacy,” the Chinese foreign ministry said. “In fact, the United States itself is encouraging coercive diplomacy.”

One Western diplomat said the G7 was heavily focused on winning over the “global south”.

“It is clear that China’s influence on these countries around the world is significant,” the diplomat said. “I think we’re all trying to work out how to show those countries in the middle that we care about them all the time, not just when we want them to vote a certain way.”

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Additional reporting by Joe Leahy in Beijing and Alice Hancock in Brussels