Not so magnificent G7

Weaponizing G7 summit to counter China rise is not going to work

18 June 2021 | CCCA (Supplied: Official Photo)

A recent article which appeared in the Asia Peace Program affiliated with the University of Singapore carries the title “Can Bid

In an article published on 15 June 2021, UTS Professor James Laurenceson, Director of the Australia-China Relations Institute, describes the deterioration of Australia-China relationships as a result of “bad strategy”, a term coined in Richard Rumcll’s book “Good Strategy/Bad Strategy:” to describe Turnbull’s action against China.

He wrote that “Morrison would be better advised to heed the frank advice offered last week by Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong en route: There will be rough spots [with China] and you have to deal with that.  But deal with them as issues in a partnership which you want to keep going and not issues, which add up to an adversary which you are trying to suppress”.

The G7 countries are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and US and it does not include Australia or New Zealand.

In the Australian media, the Guardian carried the news of the G7 conference with the headline: 

G7 backs Biden infrastructure plan to rival China’s belt and road initiative: Scheme is part of wider push for G7 leaders to question China on human rights, Taiwan and Covid-19.

The leadership style of the G7, and their strategy, is reminiscent of the Soviet-US Cold War.

Below is a list highlighting 15 of China’s top trading partners in terms of export sales. That is, these countries imported the most Chinese shipments by dollar value during 2020.

Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Chinese exports:

(1).United States: US$452.6 billion (17.5% of China’s total exports): (2) Hong Kong: $272.7 billion (10.5%); (3) Japan: $142.6 billion (5.5%); (4) Vietnam: $113.8 billion (4.4%); (5) South Korea: $112.5 billion (4.3%); (6) Germany: $86.8 billion (3.4%); (7) Netherlands: $79 billion (3%); (8) United Kingdom: $72.6 billion (2.8%); (9) India: $66.7 billion (2.6%); (10) Taiwan: $60.1 billion (2.3%); (11) Singapore: $57.5 billion (2.2%); (12) Malaysia: $56.4 billion (2.2%); (13) Australia: $53.5 billion (2.1%); (14) Russia: $50.6 billion (2%); (15) Thailand: $50.5 billion. 

The above figures showed those countries trade heavily with China and some G7 countries exports to China exceeds those goods exported to the US.  From these observations, solidarity, and cohesion for G7 may be hindered by economic concerns.

The Guardian provides this analysis: Can the west confront Beijing on trade and human rights and cooperate on the climate crisis? 

Cracks have appeared in the solidarity of G7 nations. French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that the Group of Seven (G7) is not a club that is hostile to China and should work with the Asian economy on multiple fronts, including climate change, world trade and development policies, despite sharing differences.

Mario Draghi, the current chair of the G20, has urged Joe Biden  not to push competition with China to the extent that it prevents cooperation on other vital issues such as the climate crisis. 

Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), said Monday there is no new Cold War with China but the Western allies will have to adapt to the challenge of Beijing’s rise.

Another big issue to consider is where the money to support the “Build Back Better World(B3W) project is coming from?

The Build Back Better World (B3W) project to rival the BRI is a good thing if its main purpose is to give the world an alternative “BRI” deal.   However, if it is used with the malice of containment and preventing China from rising, then the whole project can be said to be politicized.

Prof Martin Jacques, a senior fellow at Cambridge University (UK) told Xinhua that it is not surprising that the “greatly diminished” G7 took an extremely negative view about China.  He preaches the inclusion of China as a better strategy for a better global economy, 

From the US point of view, their China containment policy kills two birds with one stone. (1) it distracts the ordinary US citizens from their daily problems and (2) a winnable election card for domestic politics.  However, the US domestic economy is already burdened and unless they print more money, where would the funds come from?

Ethnic Chinese residents in the US, UK and Australia has voiced their opinion on the G7 meeting in Cornwall, UK and their published comments have much in common. 

An open letter from representatives of Chinese professionals in the UK to the leaders of the G7 countries

The overseas Chinese diaspora are peace loving people and would prefer a world where the rise of China is tolerated and accommodated so that the whole world can benefit from a harmonious planet where the inhabitants lived together in a collaborative manner in all fronts and enjoy the peace & prosperity it will bring to all. 

On 17 June 2021 at 4am Australian EST, UK high-profile speakers will launch a “No Cold War Britain” campaign. This event comes as Britain sends its largest ever warship to the South China Sea in a deliberately aggressive and provocative move. Great news for the world.

This commentary is supplied by the Chinese Community Council of Australia Incorporated: Founding President, Dr Anthony Pun OAM, President, Mr Kingsley Liu. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors.

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