G7 hammers China over Russia ties, ‘harmful’ trade

Afp June 15, 2024
Group photo session during the G7 Foreign Ministers' Meeting at the Iikura Guest House Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023, in Tokyo, Japan. PHOTO: REUTERS


G7 leaders meeting in Italy Friday hardened their tone against China, warning Beijing to stop sending weapons components to Russia and play by the rules on trade, according to a draft summit statement.

China has been a key focus of the Group of Seven talks in Puglia, amid souring trade relations between Beijing and the West and concerns that its supplies of  equipment to Moscow are fuelling Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“We call on China to cease the transfer of dual-use materials, including weapons components and equipment, that are inputs for Russia’s defence sector,” according to a draft statement seen by AFP.

The Group of Seven also took aim at what it called “dangerous” incursions by China in the contested South China Sea, where worries of a military escalation between Beijing and its neighbours are rising.

“We oppose China’s militarisation, and coercive and intimidation activities in the South China Sea,” the statement read, using stronger language than at last year’s summit in Japan.

After a first day dominated by Ukraine, US President Joe Biden and the leaders of Japan, France, Germany, Canada, Britain and host country Italy turned their focus to the world’s second-largest economy, a superpower whose oversized influence on geopolitics and global trade cannot be underestimated.

“G7 countries are on the same page vis-a-vis China,” a Japanese government source told AFP.

Thursday’s talks, attended by Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky, were marked by a strong show of G7 support for Kyiv, with an agreement to use profits from frozen Russian assets to provide a new $50-billion loan to Ukraine.

With the war in its third year, the G7 statement said the deal sent an “unmistakeable signal” to Russian President Vladimir Putin that they would back Kyiv for “as long as it takes”.



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