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G7 Ministers Fixate on China, Stick with Imperial ‘Rules-Based Order,’ not the BRI

May 5, 2021 (EIRNS)—The May 3-5 summit of Group of Seven Foreign and Development Ministers in London had one purpose: to craft a unified attack on China, all the while proclaiming that containment is not a goal, but demanding that China adhere to the “rules-based international order”—which rules are written by the same imperial geopolitical forces determined to crush China. Particular focus was placed on the “danger” of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which as top State Department officials warned in a May 4 briefing to reporters, uses its development strategies “to make countries dependent on them” and compromise their sovereignty.

One of these officials proclaimed that there was complete unanimity among the ministers, describing them as “the most like-minded group on the planet.” One Biden administration official enthusiastically told Bloomberg there’d been a “sea change” in European thinking, coming on board the U.S. stance on China. And, he commented,

“that change could get more pronounced if the [German] Greens convert their opinion poll lead into a strong showing or even victory in September.... The Greens have a harsher line on China than the current administration, calling for an end to Beijing’s ‘blatant human-rights violations’ and for closer European and trans-Atlantic coordination on China.”

A second Bloomberg article cited unnamed State Department and other diplomatic sources, who reported that prior to the May 4 meeting, the U.S. submitted a document that proposed setting up a “consultation mechanism” involving the G7, “as well as other stakeholders,” to ensure a coordinated response to China’s actions, to bolster the “resilience” of G7 nations. At yesterday’s opening session, the first 90 minutes were reportedly dedicated to China. Discussion included U.S. warnings about how China tries to use the Belt and Road Initiative and “economic coercion” to “get nations and individuals to do what it wants.” A second proposal reportedly involved setting up a group called “Friends of Hong Kong” to allow for sharing of information about the former British colony, according to one diplomat who attended.

State Department officials insisted the rules-based order and the need to shape “open societies” were key themes of debate, but discussion always came back to China. “It was the most important agenda item for us,” said one of the officials, who warned that if China wants to be an integral member of the international order, “it has to play by the rules of that international order.” Of course, he said, governments aren’t being asked to choose, to be either for or against China, but rather it’s a question of “ensuring that China is abiding by those rules and competing fairly with us.”

In an interview with the Financial Times, Secretary of State Tony Blinken stated that it would be possible to change China’s behavior, “If countries around the world that feel aggrieved by some practice that China is engaged in,” come together.” He pointed out that the U.S. by itself is only 25% of world GDP, but if all these “aggrieved nations” get together, that’s 40, 50, 60% of world GDP. Then it will be much harder for China to ignore them.

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