Founded in 1975 as a forum for the West’s richest nations to discuss crises such as the OPEC oil embargo, the G-7 this week addressed what it perceives as the biggest current threats: China, Russia and the coronavirus pandemic.
G-7 foreign ministers, in a 12,400-word communique, said Russia was trying to undermine democracies and threatening Ukraine while the Chinese communist regime was guilty of human rights abuses and of using its economic clout to bully others.
There was, however, little concrete action mentioned in the communique that would unduly worry either Chinese leader Xi Jinping or Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The G-7 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 G-7 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 Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
Russia denies it is meddling beyond its borders and says the West is gripped by anti-Russian hysteria. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) says the West is a bully and that its leaders have a post-imperial mindset that makes them feel they can act like global policemen.
“We will work collectively to foster global economic resilience in the face of arbitrary, coercive economic policies and practices,” the G-7 ministers said on China.
They said they supported Taiwan’s participation in World Health Organization forums and the World Health Assembly—and expressed concerns about “any unilateral actions that could escalate tensions” in the Taiwan Strait.
The Chinese regime sees Taiwan as a part of its territory and has threatened war to bring the island into its fold. It opposes any official Taiwanese representation on an international level. Taiwan, a self-ruled island, is a de facto independent country with its own democratically elected government, military, constitution, and currency.
On Russia, the G-7 was similarly supportive of Ukraine but offered little beyond words.
“We are deeply concerned that the negative pattern of Russia’s irresponsible and destabilizing behavior continues,” G-7 ministers said.
“This includes the large build-up of Russian military forces on Ukraine’s borders and in illegally-annexed Crimea, its malign activities aimed at undermining other countries’ democratic systems, its malicious cyber activity, and (its) use of disinformation.”
On the coronavirus pandemic, the G-7 pledged to work with industry to expand the production of affordable COVID-19 vaccines, but stopped short of calling for a waiver of intellectual property rights of major pharma firms.
“We commit to working with industry to facilitate expanded manufacturing at scale of affordable COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics and their component parts,” the G7 foreign ministers said in a joint statement.
They said the work would include “promoting partnerships between companies, and encouraging voluntary licensing and tech transfer agreements on mutually agreed terms”.
By William James, Guy Faulconbridge and Elizabeth Piper
Epoch Times staff contributed to this report