Opinion| G7 Summit mobilizes Asian countries against China, while Beijing strengthens its position in Central Asia

Marwa El- Shinawy
9 Min Read

In the closing statement of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, the group expressed a series of concerns about China’s economic and military activities. The leaders agreed on a new initiative to confront what they called “economic coercion”, and pledged to take steps to ensure the failure of any party’s attempt to turn economic dependence into a weapon. The G7 affirmed that they are ready to build constructive and stable relations with China, but they are aware of the importance of dealing openly with China and expressing their concerns directly.

“Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China and we do not seek to thwart China’s economic progress and development,” the statement said. The group, of course, warned of China’s “militarization” in the South China Sea, stressing that “peace and stability” in the Taiwan Strait are “essential” to global security.

    At the level of rhetoric and wording, this statement and most of the statements issued by the summit adopted a diplomatic style that illustrates the attempt of the seven member countries to avoid fueling tensions between the second-largest economy in the world and the Group of Seven. The linguistic style of this statement may also show to the international community the G7’s endeavour to cooperate with China for global peace and stability while recognizing China’s global standing. However, at the level of the rhetoric used as well, this summit resorted to launching resonant political and economic expressions, namely “economic coercion”, “malicious practices” and “destabilizing security and stability”. Hence, despite the diplomatic language used, the statements and statements issued by the summit worked deliberately and in a malicious way to demonize the Chinese side and raise economic and security concerns to condemn China and antagonize the countries of the world against it, especially the countries of Asia.

    On the political level, and despite the call for cooperation offered by the summit to China, this summit aimed to mobilize many neutral countries to form an international front against what the summit calls “the Chinese influence”. This is where Japan, the country in which the summit is held, invited a unique, carefully selected group of countries that have some conflicts or disagreements that may aggravate with China despite the close economic relations. These countries are India, South Korea, Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

     The common factor that unites these countries is the existence of a dispute or a pretext through which these countries can be easily provoked against China. India, for example, can be coaxed against China by raising its trade ambitions, as India can be an alternative country for China to transfer supply chains through, in addition to Vietnam and Indonesia. It is also easy to provoke it against China because of the border disputes that have been exacerbated in recent years. Australia and South Korea are two of the countries that have most often hinted at economic coercion in their trade dealings with China. Also, the two countries are among the most important allies of the United States, and they have, of course, adopted the vision of the world order based on the rules established and defended by the Group of Seven. Indonesia can also be mobilized against China because it is the largest country in Asia with a concentration of Muslims, which necessitates its ideological conflict with China, especially in light of the issue of the Uyghur Muslims being raised.

   On the organizational level, the choice of this summit to be held in Japan, especially after talks to open a NATO liaison office there, may be considered a real provocation to China that prompts many actions with uncalculated results. NATO has indeed stated publicly on many occasions that it is still a regional alliance and does not seek any geopolitical breakthrough. Despite this, NATO always seeks to strengthen its relations with the countries of Asia and the Pacific in a way that suggests its intention to expand eastward to this region, interfere in regional affairs, and incite confrontations and blocs. Recently, many analysts believe that Japan will be the gateway through which NATO will enter the region, especially after adopting new defence strategies.

Therefore, although the G7 Summit avoided issuing direct hostile statements, it worked great to provoke China and mobilize countries against it by raising Asian concerns, hidden differences, and perhaps the commercial ambitions of some Asian countries as well, to change the map of political alliances in Asia. More importantly, this rally against China at this summit confirms the political docility of European countries and Japan behind the desires and whims of the United States of America and its desperate attempts to maintain its hegemony. This is because the conflict with China is an American conflict in the first place.

     However, despite this, the China-Central Asia summit, which was held by the Chinese president at the same time, came to thwart the United States attempts to undermine China’s influence in Asia. This is because this unprecedented summit between China and Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan) is a real economic and political expansion of China. The most important thing is that this summit, the first of its kind, effectively paves the way for the emergence of other countries and international blocs as major players on the political map that will reshape the new world order led by China.

     On the other hand, strengthening the Chinese presence in Central Asia at this particular time is an important proactive step that confirms the Sino-Russian alliance and stands as a barrier against the American incursion into this very vital region for both Russia and China. This is because it is located on the southern borders of Russia and was once part of the Souketian Union before its fall and at the same time constitutes an important Chinese sphere of influence. The interest of the United States and NATO in this region increased dramatically after the Ukrainian War. Last February, the United States confirmed the allocation of up to $120,000  for a programme to work with youth in Central Asian countries, as part of an initiative that includes teaching the English language and developing electronic defense systems to counter Russian-Chinese influence there. Also at the Third Central Asian Conference of the Valdai Dialogue Club, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin noted that the United States and NATO are trying to involve Central Asian countries in so-called corporate programs and training courses and are trying to deploy their military infrastructure there in order to threaten Russia’s southern borders. Thus, it becomes clear how important Central Asian countries are at this particular time and the interest of China, Russia, and the United States in this region.

     Undoubtedly, the struggle to break American hegemony and establish a new multipolar world order will not be a short-term struggle in any way, but it can extend for decades. However, there is no doubt that the coincidence of the summit of the seven leaders with the summit of China-Central Asia confirms one fact, which is that the world order established by these seven countries after the world war is already crumbling and that a new world order is already being built on its ruins.

Dr. Marwa El- Shinawy: Academic and Writer

Share This Article
Leave a comment