AFP, Saturday 20 May 2023
China on Saturday expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with a communique issued by G7 leaders that took aim at Beijing on issues including the South China Sea, human rights and alleged interference in their democracies.
U.S. President Joe Biden, left, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, second left, of Australia, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, third left, of Japan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, attend a Quad Leaders meeting on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, western Japan, Saturday, May 20, 2023. AP
Leaders from the seven wealthy nations including US President Joe Biden have been attending a summit since Friday in the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
The bloc issued a statement calling on China “not to conduct interference activities” and expressed concerns about alleged human rights abuses in China, particularly in the far-western regions of Tibet and Xinjiang.
They also said G7 countries were “gravely concerned” about territorial disputes in the South China Sea, indirectly accusing China of “coercion”.
Beijing was also urged by the G7 to use its influence to put pressure on Russia to end its invasion of Ukraine.
But China’s foreign ministry hit back on Saturday evening, saying the G7’s “approach has no international credibility whatsoever”.
“The G7 insisted on manipulating China-related issues, smearing and attacking China,” a spokesman for the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“China expresses its strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition and has lodged an official protest with Japan, the host country of the summit, as well as other relevant parties.”
The G7 statement stressed “the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait”, but Beijing responded by criticising the bloc for not showing clear opposition to Taiwan independence.
“The G7 trumpets that it wants to move towards a peaceful, stable and prosperous world. But in fact it is hindering world peace, undermining regional stability and inhibiting the development of other countries,” the spokesman said.
The Hiroshima communique is a result of negotiations between the countries of the G7, which hold differing approaches on how to deal with China.
Some nations including the United States favour a stronger line while others in Europe want to avoid further confrontation.
This article was originally published by Agence France-Presse.