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(From left) Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Mathias Cormann, Managing Director of the IMF Kristalina Georgieva, Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, France's President Emmanuel Macron, US President Joe Biden, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a family photo of leaders of the G7 and invited countries during the G7 Leaders' Summit in Hiroshima on May 20, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

HIROSHIMA, Japan: The Group of Seven wealthy democracies united Saturday in urging China to pressure its strategic partner Russia to end its war on Ukraine.

In a joint statement issued on Saturday, the G7 leaders emphasized they did not want to harm China and were seeking “constructive and stable relations” with Beijing, “recognizing the importance of engaging candidly with and expressing our concerns directly to China.”

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“We call on China to press Russia to stop its military aggression, and immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw its troops from Ukraine,” it said.

“We encourage China to support a comprehensive, just and lasting peace based on territorial integrity and the principles and purposes of the UN Charter,” including in direct talks with Ukraine.

Cooperation with China is needed given its global role and economic size, the group said, in appealing for working together on challenges such as climate change, biodiversity, debts and financing needs of of vulnerable countries, global health concerns and economic stability.

But the leaders expressed “serious concern” about the situation in the East and South China seas.

The statement said there was “no legal basis for China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea, and we oppose China’s militarization activities in the region.”

“A growing China that plays by international rules would be of global interest,” the statement said, alluding to charges that Beijing is undermining the “rules-based international order.”

“Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China nor do we seek to thwart China’s economic progress and development,” it said.

Economic resilience

he statement highlighted a consensus that efforts to diversify manufacturing supply chains and ensure stable access to strategically vital minerals and other resources is not aimed at unraveling trade ties with the world’s second-largest economy.

“We are not decoupling or turning inwards,” the statement said. “At the same time, we recognize that economic resilience requires de-risking and diversifying. We will take steps, individually and collectively, to invest in our own economic vibrancy. We will reduce excessive dependencies in our critical supply chains.”

At the same time, the G7 members vowed to take a stand against various types of “economic coercion,” saying they “will counter malign practices, such as illegitimate technology transfer or data disclosure,” while also avoiding “unduly limiting trade and investment.”

Chinese officials have reacted to various G7 statements about economic coercion and other issues by accusing the US and other members of hypocrisy.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency ran a scathing editorial Friday describing such allegations as a “witch hunt,” bullying and ”superpower suppression.”

“When it comes to ‘coercion,’ the coercer of the first water is the United States,” it said. “America’s G7 allies must have much to grudge, given how Washington has exploited, or bled them, over the years.”

The G7 includes Japan, this year’s host of the leader’s annual summit, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada and Italy, as well as the European Union.