The Group of Seven countries are considering a proposal by the United States to counter what the White House sees as economic coercion from China.
A document was distributed before a two-day meeting of foreign ministers of the G7 in London, according to officials who asked not to be identified. On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken led a discussion on China and also aims to draw attention to allegations of forced labor in the Xinjiang region.
The US wants a consultation mechanism that involves the G7, as well as other key stakeholders, to ensure a coordinated response to China’s actions – to increase the resilience of the G7 countries, according to a diplomat.
The initiative coincides with a tougher line from Germany, Italy and France, the three European Union countries participating in the G7, as they begin to align themselves with the US Administration in its confrontation with China. The US is still a bit more aggressive than the EU when it comes to Beijing.
As host of the G7, the UK seeks to strike a balance with China, denouncing its alleged human rights abuses and keeping the door open to areas of cooperation such as climate change. The challenge for the Boris Johnson government is to avoid labeling the G7 as anti-China under his presidency.
The UK has left the EU and wants to make its own trade deals around the world, including with the US and India. EU countries are also walking on eggshells by holding China accountable for its alleged record against human rights without alienating a key economic partner.
Also on the agenda is a proposal to establish 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. Last year, China imposed a radical national security law on Hong Kong in the wake of anti-government protests in 2019.
Other topics under discussion include Burma, 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.