The G7 summit scheduled this year in Britain, which the British government has expanded and presented as a summit between 10 leading democracies, will not be a coalition against Beijing, the European Union’s ambassador to China Nicholas Chapuis has said.
Chapuis’ assurance came days after Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States and quickly set about repairing ties with US allies that were damaged during his predecessor Donald Trump’s time in office.
Biden is expected to join other state leaders in Cornwall in England in June for a Group of 7 summit that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to convert into a “D10” of leading democracies, with invitations already sent to Australia, India and South Korea.
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The proposal is viewed by some as an anti-China alliance.
Speaking at a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday, Chapuis defended London’s proposal and said that it was “perfectly legitimate” for democracies to discuss the issues of the day but that it was not directed at Beijing.
“For the EU, which sits in both the G7 and the G20, there is absolutely no issue of us building a so-called coalition against China,” he said. “This is not what we are doing.”
He added that the G7 had been a forum of democracies since 1975, so was both an economic forum and a political one.
Asked about Brussels’ ties with Washington under the new US administration, Chapuis said the EU would expect greater coordination with the US on China policies, referring to the launch of a US-EU dialogue on China in October.
The dialogue, at the level of US secretary of state and EU foreign policy chief, will cover a wide range of issues including human rights, security and multilateralism.
Chapuis defended the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, which took seven years of negotiations before their conclusion in December, and said it was not among the things Brussels would discuss with the US.
Since his inauguration last week, Biden has spoken to leaders of US-allied countries, including Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with all of those calls covering China or democratic values. Biden has not yet spoken on the phone to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Chapuis said discussions on an EU-China climate deal were under way, but things would only succeed if new commitments were made.
“We expect, we wish, we propose China to [join] our joint initiative before Glasgow,” he said, referring to this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference, to be held in Scotland in November.
“But this joint initiative is not a repetition of what has already been said; it is a commitment to do more. There will be in the next few days and weeks high-level meetings between the EU and China on this matter.”
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