Beijing hits back at Joe Biden’s plans to put ‘China challenge’ on G7 agenda

Catherine Wong
·3-min read

China has voiced opposition to “exclusive cliques” after the US said the “China challenge” would be on the table during Friday’s virtual meeting of the Group of Seven industrialised nations.

In a statement on Sunday, the White House said “the importance of updating global rules to tackle economic challenges, such as those posed by China” would be among the key issues for discussion, along with the international response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the world economic recovery.

It will be US President Joe Biden’s first G7 meeting since taking office in January. The group of leaders last met in April.

Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.

Asked about the meeting and its agenda, Beijing said it was opposed to “clique politics” and ideological confrontation.

Turnisa Matsedik-Qira of the Vancouver Uygur Association demonstrates against China's treatment of Uygurs while holding a photo of detained Canadians Michael Spavor (left) and Michael Kovrig outside a Vancouver court appearance for Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in May 2019. Photo: AFP
Turnisa Matsedik-Qira of the Vancouver Uygur Association demonstrates against China's treatment of Uygurs while holding a photo of detained Canadians Michael Spavor (left) and Michael Kovrig outside a Vancouver court appearance for Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in May 2019. Photo: AFP

“We oppose group politics based on ideological divides, forming exclusive cliques, and imposing the will of a minority group of countries over international society,” China’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

“Behaviours like these will not gain popularity among the international community, nor will they benefit the countries themselves, and will only push the world towards divide and even confrontation.”

The foreign ministry added that all international meetings should be conducive to multilateralism, and global affairs should be collectively managed by different nations.

“We hope that everyone will work together to make this world better instead of worse, more peaceful instead of more turbulent, and more united instead of more divided,” it said.

China, already locked in its rivalry with the United States, has seen relations fray with several other G7 members, including Britain – which has presidency of the group this year and will host a face-to-face leaders’ summit in June – and Canada.

The White House has said the world needs to update “rules to tackle economic challenges, such as those posed by China”. Photo: Reuters
The White House has said the world needs to update “rules to tackle economic challenges, such as those posed by China”. Photo: Reuters

On Tuesday, Beijing called Canada “hypocritical and despicable” for leading a coalition of the US and 57 other countries in a non-binding denunciation of the state-sponsored arbitrary detention of foreign nationals.

The move was seen as an effort to increase diplomatic pressure on China, where Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been detained since December 2018. They were arrested soon after Canadian authorities Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou was taken into custody in response to an extradition request from the US.

Biden to put focus on China, pandemic and economic recovery at G7 talks

Tensions have also been brewing between Beijing and London over a range of issues, including Hong Kong and Huawei. Their differences intensified last week when British media regulators revoked the licence of Chinese state-owned international news channel CGTN. China has also banned the BBC.

Earlier this week, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he shared concerns about the level of access given to a World Health Organization Covid-19 fact-finding mission to China, echoing criticism from the United States.

The G7 is an informal bloc of Western industrialised nations comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the US. It meets annually to discuss issues such as the global economy and international security.

Britain’s G7 summit not an anti-China coalition with Biden, says EU diplomat

The bloc’s share of global GDP has shrunk from nearly 70 per cent three decades ago to about one-third today. Critics have argued that its importance has diminished alongside other, broader platforms, such as the G20, which includes China and India and is seen as more representative of the world economy.

More from South China Morning Post:

This article Beijing hits back at Joe Biden’s plans to put ‘China challenge’ on G7 agenda first appeared on South China Morning Post

For the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.