The West Is Not Over Yet: China, Russia, Myanmar, Iran and COVID on Agenda of G7 London Meeting

Written by | Wednesday, May 5th, 2021

Recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, Russia and China were at the top of the agenda at the first in-person meeting foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) nations since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The meeting in London on Tuesday (4 May) was widely seen as a chance to reassert the West’s influence and address issues such as coronavirus recovery, climate change and growing tensions with Russia and China. On the agenda of the three-day meeting — chaired by the UK — are also climate change, Iran, Ukraine, disinformation and rule of law. The ministers also plan to lay the groundwork for US President Joe Biden’s first scheduled trip abroad since taking office – a June G7 summit in the United Kingdom meant to revive cooperation with traditional allies after years of friction under former President Donald Trump. In addition to G7 member states Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US has invited ministers from Australia, India, South Africa and South Korea to yesterday’s event.
With respect to Myanmar, Britain said in a statement that it will urge the other countries “to take stronger action against the military junta” by expanding targeted sanctions and increasing humanitarian assistance. Ministers will then turn their attention to the situation in Libya, the ongoing war in Syria, the events unfolding in Ethiopia, the Sahel and Western Balkans. Discussions about Russia’s ongoing malign activity including through the build-up of troops on the border with Ukraine, and its imprisonment of opposition figure Alexei Navalny and the situation in Belarus are also on the agenda. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and US State Secretary Anthony Blinken highlighted the group’s “shared values” during a bilateral meeting on Monday. “What we are trying to do is to uphold the international rules-based order that our countries have invested so much in over so many decades to the benefit, I would argue not just of our own citizens, but of people around the world,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
Blinken also called for G7 countries to defend “democratic values and open society”, countering threats posed by Russia and China. The G7 western democracies aims to court new allies to counter challenges from China and Russia without holding Beijing down and while pursuing more stable ties with the Kremlin, two of its top diplomats said on Monday (3 May). “It is not our purpose to try to contain China or to hold China down,” Blinken said, but added that the West would defend “the international rules based order” from subversive attempts by any country, including China. “I do see the increasing demand and need for agile clusters of like-minded countries that share the same values and want to protect the multilateral system,” Raab said. “We can see a shift towards that pattern of clusters of like-minded countries agile enough to work together.” But even without its broader alliance, the G7 still packs a punch: combined it is much bigger than China both economically and militarily.

Article Categories:
Asia-Pacific · GLOBAL EUROPE

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.