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G7 prepares joint response to Chinese ‘economic coercion’


G7 leaders are set to unveil measures to respond to Chinese economic coercion as the United States, Japan and other members of the group step up efforts to adopt a unified approach to Beijing.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the leaders of the G7 nations – the US, Britain, Japan, Canada, Germany, France and Italy – will release a statement on China on Saturday, laying out tools the countries will use to push back against economic pressure . .

“G7 leaders will outline a common set of tools to address concerns that each of our countries face,” Sullivan said at the G7 in Hiroshima, Japan.

Sullivan said the tools to promote economic security would include steps to make supply chains more resilient, outbound investment measures and export controls designed to protect sensitive technology. The US and its allies are increasingly concerned about China’s ability to secure foreign technology to aid its military.

The measures are released as Washington and Beijing work to organize a series of high-level meetings to follow up on an agreement between President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping last year to rebuild relations between the two superpowers, which have deteriorated to its worst condition in decades.

Sullivan rejected suggestions that the G7 statement on China could affect efforts to restart ties, saying the language was “not hostile” and that the US and its allies wanted to work with China.

“It’s not a cartoon issue of one-dimensional politics. It’s a multidimensional complex politics of a complex relationship with a really important country,” Sullivan said.

British officials said the G7 leaders would announce a platform that would provide a forum to identify economic vulnerabilities and coordinate safeguards.

“The platform will address the growing and harmful use of economic coercion to interfere in the sovereign affairs of other states,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said ahead of a discussion on economic security set for Saturday.

“We should be clear about the growing challenge we face. China is engaged in concerted and strategic economic competition.”

The US ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, said China was using debt trap diplomacy and the “crude exercise of power” to undermine the political and economic stability of countries.

In recent months, China has imposed sanctions on US defense firms Lockheed Martin and Raytheon and launched a national security investigation into US chip maker Micron. It has also raided US due diligence firm Mintz and Bain, the consultancy, and detained an executive from Japan’s Astellas Pharma group.

The G7 will issue its final communique on Saturday, 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 China coordination follows two years of efforts by the Biden administration, aided by Japan, to foster unity among G7 members on challenges from Beijing. European officials said that maintaining a coordinated action was stronger than unilateral measures by individual countries.

China responded on Friday to US claims of economic coercion by saying the US and its allies were “using their great power status . . . and economic coercion to enforce compliance and engage in coercive diplomacy”.

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

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