G7 leaders are set to unveil measures to respond to Chinese economic coercion, as the US, Japan and other members of the group intensify efforts to adopt a unified approach to Beijing.
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the leaders of the G7 nations — US, UK, Japan, Canada, Germany, France and Italy — would on Saturday release a statement on China and lay out tools the countries would 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 becoming increasingly concerned about China’s ability to secure foreign technology to help its military.
The measures are being released at the same time Washington and Beijing are working to organise a series of high-level meetings to follow through on an agreement between President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping last year to rebuild the relationship between the two superpowers, which has deteriorated to its worst state in decades.
Sullivan dismissed suggestions that the G7 statement on China could impact the effort to reboot 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 policy. It is a multi dimensional complex policy for a complex relationship with a really important country,” Sullivan said.
UK officials said the G7 leaders would announce a platform that would provide a forum to identify economic vulnerabilities and co-ordinate protective measures.
“The platform will address the growing and pernicious use of coercive economic measures to interfere in the sovereign affairs of other states,” UK prime minister Rishi Sunak said ahead of an economic security discussion tabled for Saturday.
“We should be clear-eyed about the growing challenge we face. China is engaged in a concerted and strategic economic contest.”
US ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said China was using debt trap diplomacy and “raw exercise of power” to undermine the political and economic stability of countries.
In recent months, China has put sanctions on US defence companies Lockheed Martin and Raytheon and launched a national security investigation into US chipmaker 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 release its final communique on Saturday, one day earlier than planned because the leaders are expected to focus on Ukraine on Sunday. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, will travel to Asia for the first time since Russia invaded his country to join the summit in person.
The co-ordination on China follows two years of efforts by the Biden administration, helped by Japan, to foster unity among G7 members on challenges posed by Beijing. European officials said maintaining co-ordinated action was more powerful than unilateral measures by individual countries.
China on Friday responded to US claims about economic coercion by saying the US and its allies were “utilising 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