China’s Xi and Russia’s Putin dominate the G7

G7 Summit in Liverpool
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss speaks during the G7 foreign and development ministers meeting with guest and ASEAN countries in Liverpool, UK December 12, 2021. Anthony Devlin / Pool via REUTERS

December 12, 2021

By William James, Alexander Ratz and Humeyra Pamuk

LIVERPOOL, UK (Reuters) – While Russian President Vladimir Putin has left the West guessing about Ukraine, it is the strength of Chinese President Xi Jinping that has captured the long-term strategic focus as diplomats The meeting of the Group of Seven richest democracies meets this weekend.

The United States and its other G7 allies are seeking a close response to Xi’s growing assertiveness following China’s spectacular economic and military rise over the past 40 years.

Putin was the immediate tactical focus at talks in the British city of Liverpool between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his counterparts. There is support for President Joe Biden’s effort to support Ukraine and deter Putin with a clear warning of severe economic sanctions.

“There’s a huge amount of convergence on what wouldn’t be necessary if Russia made that bad choice,” said a senior State Department official.

The West is concerned that Russia may be preparing to attack Ukraine. The Kremlin denies plans to invade Ukraine but demands a legally binding security guarantee that NATO will not expand further eastward.

Sources familiar with the discussions raised concerns about Russia’s disinformation campaigns but there was no clear agreement on whether penalties would be imposed on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

Russia was included in the G8 in 1997 but was suspended in 2014 after annexing Crimea from Ukraine. Moscow says the G7 – the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – is making aggressive accusations.

If Putin, 69, is a short-term concern, then Xi’s China is the strategic puzzle on everyone’s lips.

An official who attended the talks said there were “very, very tense discussions, especially about China”.


China’s re-emergence as a leading global power is considered one of the most important geopolitical events of recent times, along with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, which ended end the Cold War.

China in 1979 had a smaller economy than Italy, but after opening up to foreign investment and implementing market reforms, it became the world’s second largest economy and the global leader in a host of new technologies.

Founded in 1975 as a forum for the wealthiest nations in the West to discuss crises such as the OPEC oil embargo, the G7 berated both China and Russia after their summit in Paris. Cornwall in June.

China, which has never been a member of the G7, countered in June after that meeting that “small” groups no longer rule the world.

A second State Department official said: “It is great to have the focus on the Indo-Pacific region here.

The State Department’s first official said that the foreign ministers discussed the situation in Hong Kong, the Xinjiang region and the importance of peace in the Taiwan Strait.

The need to support Lithuania was also discussed. China downgraded diplomatic relations with the Baltic state and suspended consular services after the Taiwan Representative Office in Lithuania opened on November 18.

“We made it clear at this weekend’s meeting that we are concerned about China’s coercive economic policies,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told reporters.

The G7 wants to act together for Beijing but does not appear to be an anti-China club.

Western officials point out that the combined G7 still packs a powerful punch: it has an economic influence of some $40 trillion and comprises three of the world’s five official nuclear powers.

Officials said there had been serious discussion of G7 concerted action to counter China’s disinformation and aid countries trapped in what critics see as a global debt-trap web. of China.

Canada joined Australia, Britain and the United States in a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing on Wednesday. China said those countries will pay the price for their indifference.

At the G7, Japan and Germany remained undecided and Italy doubted the boycott.

Blinken travels to Southeast Asia on Monday in an effort to build a front united against China in the Indo-Pacific.

(Written by Guy Faulconbridge, edited by Frances Kerry) China’s Xi and Russia’s Putin dominate the G7


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