As the group of seven richest western countries gather Tuesday to discuss amongst other things, relations with China, two diplomats have disclosed that the forum is looking out for ways to counter challenges from China and Russia without trying to contain Beijing or escalate tension with the Kremlin.
“It is not our purpose to try to contain China or to hold China down,” U.S. President Joe Biden’s secretary of state, Antony Blinken told reporters on Monday ahead of the first in-person G7 foreign ministers meeting to hold since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in 2019.
However, he added that the West would defend “the international rules based order” from subversive attempts by any country, including China.
The meeting, which started with a pre-session between UK host, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Blinken, will continue Tuesday over issues regarding China, Russia and others including the OPEC oil embargo, the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.
The G7 will have China as the agenda in the morning session and Russia in the afternoon discussion.
The G7 forum was founded in 1975. Combined, it packs a powerful punch of about $40 trillion in economic clout and three of the world’s five official nuclear powers.
Russia was included in what became the G8 in 1997 but was suspended in 2014 after annexing Crimea from Ukraine. China, now the world’s second largest economy, has never been a member of the G7.
In the past few months, Russia’s military activeness around Crimea has sparked major world powers to suspect an invasion of Ukraine.
China, on the other hand, has been criticized particularly, by the US over what is perceived as aggressive moves against democracy.