The G7 nations on Wednesday scolded China and Russia, casting the Kremlin as malicious and Beijing as a bully, but beyond words there were few concrete steps aside from expressing support for Taiwan and Ukraine.
Founded in 1975 as a forum for the West’s richest nations to discuss crises such as the OPEC oil embargo, the G7 this week addressed what it perceives as the biggest threats: China, Russia and the COVID-19 pandemic.
G7 foreign ministers, in a 12,400-word communique, said that Russia was trying to undermine democracies and threatening Ukraine, while China was guilty of human rights abuses and of using its economic clout to bully others.
However, there was little concrete action mentioned in the communique that would unduly worry either Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) or Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The G7 said it would bolster collective efforts to stop China’s “coercive economic policies” and to counter Russian disinformation — part of a move to present the West as a much broader alliance than just the core G7 countries.
“I think [China is] more likely to need to, rather than react in anger, it is more likely going to need to take a look in the mirror and understand that it needs to take into account this growing body of opinion, that thinks these basic international rules have got to be adhered to,” British Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Dominic Raab said.
Russia denies it is meddling beyond its borders and says the West is gripped by anti-Russian hysteria, while China says the West is a bully and that its leaders have a post-imperial mindset that makes them feel they can act like global police officers.
“We will work collectively to foster global economic resilience in the face of arbitrary, coercive economic policies and practices,” the G7 ministers said on China.
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) condemned the statement, saying that it made “groundless accusations” that were a gross interference in China’s internal affairs.
“This is the wanton destruction of the norms of international relations,” he said.
The G7 as a group should take concrete action to boost the global economic recovery, instead of disrupting it, he added.
Wang also attacked G7 countries for hoarding COVID-19 vaccines and having a “wishy-washy” stance toward helping other countries.
“They should not criticize and interfere in other countries with a high-and-mighty attitude, undermining the current top priority of international anti-pandemic cooperation,” he said.
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