UK plans hosting G-7 meeting next week to craft China strategy

World | 13 Feb 2021 1:59 pm

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to host a virtual meeting of the Group of Seven leaders on February 19 to form a united front in the fight against the coronavirus and to start crafting a joint strategy on China.

Among senior diplomats who are laying the groundwork there was also a preliminary discussion about how to address China and what wording to use in the final communique of the June summit, according to a diplomatic note seen by Bloomberg.

During that so-called sherpa meeting last week, the US delegate outlined the need to act firmly and with determination toward Beijing while Canada stressed the importance of not leaving the vaccination of poorer countries to China and Russia, the cable said.

The UK is also proposing a 10-point recovery plan, a declaration on pandemic preparedness and a statement promoting open societies, democratic values and human rights to be signed by the group and this year’s three guests, Australia, South Korea and India.

Johnson has invited the three countries to this year’s forum as he tries to establish a so-called D-10 coalition of democracies to counter China. This has created tensions as some fear an expansion of the group by the back door while others worry it could turn into an anti-China front.

The UK plans to host leaders in person in Cornwall, along the southwest coast of England. It’s taking the helm at a delicate time, trying to rebuild trust in multilateral institutions that were undermined under the Trump administration while also trying to carve its own path post-Brexit.

A spokesperson for the UK government declined to comment.

- Bloomberg

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