President Xi Jinping, China, Great Hall
President Xi Jinping of China. Photo credit: 美国之音 / Wikimedia

Without naming China explicitly, the leaders of the G7 countries criticized the Asian superpower for using its economic might to bully other nations.

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Without naming China explicitly, the leaders of the G7 countries criticized the Asian superpower for using its economic might to bully other nations. Beijing quickly fired back and said it is the US who is strong-arming others to do its bidding.

One day after putting Russia on notice that they would not waver in their commitment to stand with Ukraine, the leaders of the US, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Canada took aim at China with a thinly veiled shot.

“The world has encountered a disturbing rise in incidents of economic coercion that seek to exploit economic vulnerabilities and dependencies and undermine the foreign and domestic policies and positions of G7 members as well as partners around the world,” the leaders of the Group of Seven countries said in a joint statement at their annual summit, which is held in Hiroshima, Japan, this year.

The G7 leaders vowed to work together to ensure that any attempt to “weaponize economic dependencies” to bully their countries and allies “to comply and conform will fail and face consequences.”

To counteract this dynamic, the G7 countries pledged to form mutually beneficial partnerships to “ensure sustainable development for all.”

A top priority in this regard is to engage in “strategic coordination on economic resilience and economic security by reducing vulnerabilities and countering malign practices that exploit and reinforce them.”

In other words, they want to become less dependent on China.

China Is Not Amused

Although it wasn’t mentioned, it did not take long for China to respond as though it had been.

“The G7 makes high-sounding claims about ‘promoting a peaceful, stable and prosperous world’, but what it does is hindering international peace, undermining regional stability and curbing other countries’ development,” a spokesperson of China’s Foreign Ministry said.

“Despite China’s serious concerns, the G7 used issues concerning China to smear and attack China and brazenly interfere in China’s internal affairs,” the spokesperson added. “China strongly deplores and firmly opposes this and has made serious démarches to the summit’s host Japan and other parties concerned.”

The country firmly rejected accusations that it is engaging in economic coercion.

Instead, the spokesperson said, it is the United States who is the bully in international trade.

“[M]assive unilateral sanctions and acts of ‘decoupling’ and disrupting industrial and supply chains make the US the real coercer that politicizes and weaponizes economic and trade relations,” the spokesperson said and urged the other G7 members to not become an “accomplice.”

“Let me make it clear that gone are the days when a handful of Western countries can just willfully meddle in other countries’ internal affairs and manipulate global affairs,” the spokesperson added. “We urge G7 members to catch up with the trend of the times, focus on addressing the various issues they have at home, stop ganging up to form exclusive blocs, stop containing and bludgeoning other countries, stop creating and stoking bloc confrontation and get back to the right path of dialogue and cooperation.”

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