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G7 wants 'stable' China relations, warns on 'militarisation'

AFP . Hiroshima
20 May 2023 15:26:57 | Update: 20 May 2023 15:28:01
G7 wants 'stable' China relations, warns on 'militarisation'
Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (C) smiles as leaders take part in the "Outreach Session 6" meeting during the second day of the G7 Summit Leaders' Meeting in Hiroshima on May 20, 2023 — AFP Photo

G7 leaders on Saturday warned China over its "militarisation activities" in the Asia-Pacific region but said the bloc also wanted "constructive and stable relations" with Beijing.

In a final communique issued at a summit in Hiroshima, the nations laid out a raft of concerns about China's economic and military activities.

But they also sought to keep the door open to cooperation and avoid further inflaming tensions between the world's second-largest economy and the grouping of major Western powers plus Japan.

"We stand prepared to build constructive and stable relations with China, recognising the importance of engaging candidly with and expressing our concerns directly to China," the group said.

"Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China nor do we seek to thwart China's economic progress and development," the statement continued, adding that the G7 countries are not "decoupling or turning inwards".

Still, the language made clear the bloc's wide-ranging concerns about Beijing's willingness to deploy trade measures in diplomatic disputes and G7's determination to untangle sensitive supply chains from Chinese influence.

"Economic resilience requires de-risking and diversifying," the communique said, pledging to "reduce excessive dependencies in our critical supply chains".

The bloc warned against China's "militarisation" in the South China Sea and repeated that "peace and stability" in the Taiwan Strait is "indispensable" to global security.

And it urged China to use its influence with Russia "to stop its military aggression, and immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw its troops from Ukraine"