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U.S. proposes G7 co-ordinate to counter China’s economic might

U.S. proposes G7 co-ordinate to counter China’s economic might
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The Group of Seven nations is considering a U.S. proposal to counter what the White House sees as China’s economic coercion.

A paper was circulated ahead of a two-day meeting of G7 foreign ministers in London, according to officials who declined to be identified as the talks are private. A discussion about China on Tuesday was led by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was also expected to raise allegations of forced labour in the Xinjiang region.

The U.S. wants a consultation mechanism that would involve the G7 — as well as other key stakeholders — to ensure a co-ordinated response to China’s moves and with the aim of boosting the resilience of G7 nations, according to a diplomat.

The initiative coincides with a hardening of Germany, Italy, and France — the three European Union countries that participate in the G7 — as they begin to align with the U.S. administration in its standoff with China. The U.S. is still a fair bit more hawkish than the EU when it comes to Beijing.

The State department declined to comment.

As host of the G7, the U.K. seeks to strike a balance on China, calling out its alleged human rights abuses while keeping the door open to areas of co-operation such as on climate change. The challenge for Boris Johnson’s government is to avoid framing the G7 as anti-China under his presidency.

The U.K. has left the EU and wants to strike trade deals of its own around the world, including with the U.S. and India. European nations are also seeking to walk a fine line between holding China to account on its human-rights record while not alienating a key economic partner.

Also on the agenda is a proposal to set up a group called “Friends of Hong Kong” to share information and concerns about the former British colony, according to a diplomat familiar with the matter. China last year imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong last year in the wake of anti-government protests in 2019.

Other issues under discussion include Myanmar, Russia, Ukraine and an agreement on a rapid response mechanism to counter disinformation that is expected to be adopted as an annex to the final joint statement.
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