China and Russia reacted angrily to the Group of Seven (G7) meeting in Hiroshima, where leaders of major democracies committed to fresh sanctions against Russia and voiced growing concerns about China.
Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia, criticized the G7 on Saturday for indulging in their “own greatness”. He also added that they pursued an agenda designed to “deter” China and Russia.
The G7 needed to “reflect on its behavior and change course,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry stated. He accused the group’s leaders of “hindering international peace”.
Beijing said that it had “serious démarches” with the host nation Japan and “other parties” on their choice to “smear and attack” China.
Russia’s brutal assault on Ukraine and how to handle an increasingly assertive Beijing overshadowed the three-day conference of the world’s top industrialized democracies, which took place in Japan – just across regional seas from both countries – where Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise, in-person appearance.
In a historic joint communiqué released on Saturday, G7 member countries made the group’s most thorough articulation of a shared position on China to yet. They highlighted the need for cooperation with the world’s second-largest economy while simultaneously combating its “malign practices” and “coercion”.
A subtly worded warning from members against what they perceive to be the weaponization of commerce from both China and Russia was included in the leaders’ pledge to take new efforts to choke off Russia’s capacity to finance and fuel its conflict. They also promised to increase coordination on their economic security.
The G7 accords come in response to a hardening of attitudes toward China in several European capitals, despite divergent opinions on how to handle relations with the important economic partner that the US considers “the most serious long-term challenge to the international order”.