HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) — The Group of Seven wealthy democracies United in urging China to end its war on Ukraine and to peacefully resolve regional conflicts, China backed off.
In a joint statement, the G7 leaders said they did not want to harm China and wanted “constructive and stable relations” with Beijing, stressing that they “recognize the importance of engaging sincerely with China and express our concerns directly to China.”
“We urge China to put pressure on Russia to stop its military aggression. Withdraw its forces from Ukraine immediately, completely and unconditionally,” the statement said on Saturday. “We encourage China to support a comprehensive, just and lasting peace based on territorial integrity and the principles and objectives of the UN Charter,” including direct talks with Ukraine.
Cooperation with China is required given its global role and economic size to work together on challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, debt and financing needs of vulnerable countries, global health concerns and economic stability.
But the leaders expressed “grave concern” over the situation in the East and South China Seas, where Beijing is expanding its military presence and threatening to use force to assert its control over self-ruled Taiwan. They called for a “peaceful settlement” of China’s claim to Taiwan, which has remained unresolved since the Communists took power on the Chinese mainland in 1949.
The statement said “China’s extensive maritime claims in the South China Sea have no legal basis, and we oppose China’s militarization activities in the area.”
“A rising China that plays by international rules would be in the global interest,” the report said, pointing to accusations that Beijing is undermining the “rules-based international order.”
The G7 is united in expressing concerns about human rights in China, including Tibet, Hong Kong and the far western regions of Xinjiang, where the issue of forced labor is a perennial problem.
But the report also sought to counter accusations that the G7 is trying to block China’s rise as a world power.
“Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China, nor do we seek to hinder China’s economic progress and development,” it said. The report highlights the consensus that efforts to diversify manufacturing supply chains and ensure sustainable access to strategically important minerals and other resources are not aimed at unraveling trade ties with the world’s second-largest economy.
“We are not cutting back or turning inward,” the statement said. “At the same time, we recognize that economic resilience requires de-risking and diversification. We will take steps to invest individually and collectively in our own economic recovery. We will reduce overdependence on our critical supply chains.”
At the same time, G7 members pledged to take a stand against various forms of “economic coercion,” “opposing harmful practices such as illegal technology transfer or data disclosure,” while “avoiding unfair trade and investment restrictions.”
Chinese officials have reacted angrily to various G7 reports on economic coercion and other issues.
In a statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the G7 is using issues concerning China to defame and attack China and shamelessly interfere in China’s internal affairs. China strongly condemns and firmly opposes this and has issued strong reprimands to Japan, the host of the summit, and other parties involved.
“The G7 should stop pointing fingers at China in Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet and take a hard look at their own history and human rights records,” it said.
Taiwan, meanwhile, thanked the G7 for its support.
“Taiwan will stand with the world’s democracies and societies to cooperate in mitigating risks,” its president Tsai Ing-wen said on Saturday. “Now, the consensus across the world is very clear that cross-cutting issues must be resolved peacefully. War is not an option,” he told a news conference.
Apart from Japan, this year’s host of the annual summit, the G7 includes the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada and Italy, and the European Union.
The G7 statement was released on the second day of the three-day summit. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Hiroshima on Saturday to participate in the meetings scheduled for Sunday.