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G-7 sticks & carrots for China

9th working session of the G-7 Hiroshima Summit meeting in Japan.

9th working session of the G-7 Hiroshima Summit meeting in Japan.

The Yomiuri Shimbun via Reuters Connect

The G-7 on Sunday wrapped up its annual summit in the Japanese city of Hiroshima by telling China something along the lines of: “Hey, our relationship is pretty toxic, but we can't afford to break up just yet. So we're gonna make a bit of a fuss until you play nice.”

In a joint communiqué, the world's richest democracies urged Beijing to pressure Russia to end its war in Ukraine and respect the status quo over Taiwan. More importantly, in a separate statement, the G-7 also called out China’s economic coercion practices — albeit without explicitly mentioning China.

The thinly veiled jab was not lost on the Chinese, who officially complained to host Japan and the UK over the rhetoric. On Monday, an editorial in the Global Times, a state-backed mouthpiece, blasted the G-7 as an “anti-China talk shop.”

At the same time, EU-led efforts to cool America’s push for the G-7 to decouple from China's economy seem to be gaining traction. What's more, in the aftermath of what he referred to as the "silly balloon" incident, US President Joe Biden was upbeat on the odds of a looming US-China thaw. In other words, the G-7's position on dealing with Beijing is as clear as ... mud.


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