Hiroshima G7 summit turns up the heat but China is out in the cold


Still, Beijing’s campaigns of economic coercion against Australia, South Korea, Japan and others have won it few friends among the Davos cocktail set. The G7 leaders are expected to use their final communique on Sunday to condemn China’s use of trade to attack opponents and threaten Taiwan.

Matthew Goodman, a former Obama administration official and G7 advisor said the communique won’t go into much detail about China’s use of economic coercion, “but it will note that this is a recurring problem, and that advanced economies are determined to take actions to deter it”.

“We think the power of deterrence in this case is largely in trying to make vulnerable countries more resilient to Chinese pressure by giving them more trade opportunities, alternative markets, and helping them sort of map their vulnerabilities,” said Goodman.

Beijing got out ahead of the G7 last week by accusing the exclusive clique of ignoring developing nations and imposing its Western-led order on the rest of the world. Its campaign to frame the group this way has proven successful in the past. Tosh Minohara, a professor of politics at Kobe University, said that in 2020 all but one African member of the United Nations Human Rights Commission backed a resolution proposed by Beijing that offered an alternative interpretation of human rights favourable to China.

Now, suddenly, the G7 is paying attention to the global south as China pours billions into financing infrastructure development. Japan’s prime minister visited Egypt, Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique last week. This week he has invited Brazil, African Union chair Comoros, Indonesia and Vietnam to Hiroshima. They all have one thing in common – they’re vital players in determining the future role an ascendant China will play in the world order.

The tropical presidents will all be accustomed to the heat in Hiroshima, where corporations, universities, rivers and oyster farms now thrive in a city that was once flattened by a nuclear bomb. If the G7 leaders are looking for reason to favour dialogue over conflict, they won’t have to look far beyond this city.

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