The G7 democracies on Tuesday discussed how to form a common front towards an increasingly assertive China in the foreign ministers’ first in-person talks in two years.
Backing US President Joe Biden’s calls for a deeper alliance of democracies, host Britain invited guests including India, South Korea and Australia for talks in central London stretched out over three days.
After a welcome dinner on Monday focused on the nuclear programmes of Iran and North Korea, the foreign ministers opened formal talks at Lancaster House, a West End mansion, welcoming one another with elbow-bumps.
The G7 devoted its first session on Tuesday to China, whose growing military and economic clout, and willingness to exert its influence at home and abroad have increasingly unnerved Western democracies.
US secretary of state Antony Blinken had said on Monday, “What we are trying to do is to uphold the international rules-based order that our countries have invested so much in over so many decades to the benefit not just of our own citizens, but of people around the world – including, by the way, China.”
British foreign secretary Dominic Raab has called for “holding Beijing to the commitments that they’ve made”, including on Hong Kong, which was promised a separate system before London handed over the colony in 1997.
G7 finance ministers to meet in-person in June
Finance ministers from the G7 nations will meet in London next month for their first major face-to-face talks in over a year, with pandemic recovery plans high on the agenda, Britain has said. The ministers will meet at Lancaster House on June 4-5, a week before the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Cornwall, England.
Blinken set to join UN event led by China
Blinken will participate in a UN Security Council meeting on Friday chaired by China’s foreign minister on strengthening global cooperation and the key role of the UN in harnessing international action to tackle conflicts and crises, China’s UN ambassador Zhang Jun has said. It will be the first encounter, though virtually, for Blinken and China’s top diplomat Wang Yi.