The G7 summit attended by US President Joe Biden in Japan this week will show the unified leaders behind a common approach to dealing with China based on shared values, including by acknowledging that each country will manage its own relationship with Beijing, a senior US administration official said on Monday.
Biden’s visit to Japan will show that Washington can support Ukraine and maintain an unprecedented level of engagement with the Indo-Pacific region, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
After the three-day summit that begins on Friday, Biden will make a brief and historic stop in Papua New Guinea and then travel to Australia for a meeting of the group known as the Quad countries.
When asked if the leaders of the group of seven rich nations — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — could show unity in dealing with China, the world’s second-biggest economy and biggest challenge for US global supremacy. The official replied:
“While the G7 is a consensus-driven group, the hosts play a big role in setting the agenda and the Japanese are very, very concerned about economic security issues in general, including with regard to China.
“I think what can be expected is that the G7 leaders make it clear that we are all unified and united behind a common approach based on common values. And at the same time, that each G7 country will manage its own relationship with China, but that we are all aligned around the principles that will guide all our relationships.”
The official said that while this was “one of the most complex issues” for the G7 meetings in Hiroshima, the United States was “very optimistic.”
Differences between nations over how to deal with China arose after French President Emmanuel Macron visited Beijing last month. He called on the European Union to reduce its dependence on the US and warned the EU not to get caught up in a crisis over Taiwan fueled by “American pacing and Chinese overreaction”.
Two years ago in Britain, the G7 leaders chided China over human rights.
The US official said the G7 will focus on the need to support developing countries affected by recent shocks, including debt and climate change, and leaders will unite around the need to take action. bold steps to accelerate the transition to clean energy.
Asked if a G7-wide agreement could be expected to limit the export of semiconductor technology to China and if there was consensus on this issue, the official said:
“There is a consensus on the need to guarantee the security of the technology. I don’t want to get ahead of the discussions in terms of what deal there will be, but I think that among the countries that are the biggest players in semiconductors, there is very broad agreement and a significant degree of consensus.
“I think you should expect to see general agreement on the principles for defining relations with China that come out of this.”
The official said he expected a trilateral summit on the sidelines of the G7 between Biden and the leaders of Japan and South Korea to cover economic security, the expansion of military exercises and their shared concerns about North Korea.
The May 24 meeting of the Australia-India-Japan-US Quad is likely to bring new steps in security and digital connectivity, investment in cutting-edge technology, infrastructure capacity building, climate and clean energy, he said.