G7 ministers worry about China’s ‘coercive’ economic policies

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Group of Seven foreign ministers on Sunday expressed concern over China’s “coercive” economic policies in what critics call “debt trap” diplomacy to developing countries, the British minister said. of Foreign Affairs Liz Truss.

The ministers also discussed “the situations in Hong Kong and Xinjiang,” where Beijing has been accused of human rights violations, and “the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” according to an official. statement issued by Great Britain, chairman of the G7, after their two-day talks in Liverpool, England.

In a separate statement, the G7 ministers and their counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, who attended part of the meeting, reaffirmed their “common interest in sustaining an Indo-Pacific region. free and open ”, in a veiled misunderstanding, China is trying to modify the regional status quo with its growing military and economic weight.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi stressed that ASEAN is the key to achieving a free and open Indo-Pacific, according to his ministry.

G7 foreign ministers met for the first time with their ASEAN counterparts, as well as those from Australia, South Korea and India, on the second day of the G7 meeting , apparently to coordinate with the 10 ASEAN members and three other regional powers on China policy.

Among ASEAN member states, the military-controlled Myanmar was excluded from the meeting as the country plunged into political turmoil following a coup in February.

On the ASEAN side, Brunei and the Philippines attended the meeting in person, while seven others joined virtually due to the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant.

ASEAN is made up of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

G7 ministers also called for “the complete, verifiable and irreversible abandonment” of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles from North Korea and for Pyongyang “to immediately resolve the kidnapping issue,” according to one of the statements.

During two days of talks, G7 foreign ministers – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, as well as the European Union – shared their concerns over the military build-up of Russia near the border with Ukraine.

In addition to the president’s statements, G7 ministers issued a statement on Russia and Ukraine, saying Moscow would face “massive consequences and high costs in response” if it engages in further aggression. military against Ukraine, condemning the Russian military build-up and aggressive rhetoric.

The G7 reaffirmed its “unwavering commitment” to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression while welcoming the “restraining position” of the Eastern European nation.

The United States and its European allies fear that the movement of Russian troops and weapons to the border area is a prelude to an invasion.

As for Iran’s nuclear activities, G7 ministers welcomed the resumption of talks at the end of last month between Tehran and Washington on the return of the Middle East nation to the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement, under which Iran has agreed with six major powers to limit its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

Meanwhile, they urged Iran to “stop its nuclear escalation”.

The Myanmar crisis was also on the agenda of expanded G7 sessions, with foreign ministers expressing “deep concern over recent developments” such as the condemnation of ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Regarding the pandemic, the G7 and ASEAN have agreed to promote cooperation to ensure the resumption of the economic fallout from the spread of the virus, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi arrives Sunday for the final day of the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers meeting in Liverpool. | POOL / VIA REUTERS

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