STORY: U.S. President Joe Biden boarded Air Force One outside Washington Wednesday for a flight to Japan. He is participating in the Group of Seven leaders’ summit or G7 meetings there starting Friday.
A French official told Reuters he would call this the geopolitical 7 as the focus is expected to be on two countries not invited.. China and Russia.
When it comes to China, members are grappling with the how to warn against what they see as its threat to global supply chains and economic security without alienating a key trading partner.
President Biden had planned to address some of these issues on a visit to other countries in the hemisphere as well. This included a meeting in Australia with the Quad an informal group of four countries that promotes an open Indo-Pacific which Beijing sees it as an attempt to push back against its growing influence in the region. That meeting is now taking place in Japan. Biden was asked about this before his departure.
Reporter: "I know that it was important to you to focus on Asia on this trip but, this is having to be put aside. Is this, is this almost a win for China?"
Biden: "no. Because we're still meeting, because we still have four good allies."
Blinken: “I think we’ve shown recently that there is more senior level engagement with China”
The U.S. relationship with China highlighted a congressional hearing Tuesday with several cabinet secretaries including Secretary of State Antony Blinken weighing in on its importance and its challenges.
“What we believe would be the right course is to now see more senior level engagement in a sustained way across our administration and theirs precisely so that we can make sure that at the very least where we're talking to each other, that we are making very clear what we stand for, what our intent is, what we're looking for, as well as, where possible, finding areas of cooperation. (Flash) It's not only what's in our interest, but the rest of the world looks to us to manage this relationship responsibly. We're determined to do that.”
Though differences on China among G7 members were put in sharp focus after French President Emmanuel Macron visited Beijing last month and called for the European Union to reduce its dependence on the United States.
On Russia, the leaders are expected to tighten sanctions. The focus is on energy and exports aiding Moscow's war against Ukraine, officials with direct knowledge of the talks have told Reuters.
While there are differences in strategy on how to end the conflict. The United States doesn't want to talk about a diplomatic path forward until it sees how the spring military offensive plays out, officials have said, even as its European allies want it to have a diplomatic solution in hand.
The G7 talks wrap up Sunday.