Expressing concern about Chinese militarization of South China Sea, the G7 foreign ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, plus the European Union reiterated their call to China to behave responsibly as a member of the international community and declared that peace and stability were an “indispensable element” of global security.
In a joint statement issued after a three-day meeting at Karuizawa in Japan, the G7 ministers emphasized “there is no change in the basic positions of the G7 members on Taiwan.”
This G7 joint statement comes in the wake of French President Emmanuel Macron’s remarks during his recent visit to China where he said that Europe should not become a “follower” of either Beijing or Washington and avoid getting involved in any conflict between the two countries over Taiwan.
The communique issued by the G7 foreign ministers after the meeting in Japan read, “We remain seriously concerned about the situation in the East and South China Seas. We strongly oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion. There is no legal basis for Chinese claims in the South China Sea, and we oppose China’s militarization activities in the region.”
“We emphasize the universal and unified character of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and reaffirm UNCLOS’ important role in setting out the legal framework that governs all activities in the oceans and the seas,” the statement added.
The G7 reiterated the award rendered by the Arbitral Tribunal on July 12, 2016, as a significant milestone. According to the US State Department, the Arbitral Tribunal was constituted under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention and delivered a unanimous and enduring decision firmly rejecting Chinese claims in South China Sea as having no basis in international law.
The G7 members recognized the importance of engaging candidly with and expressing our concerns directly to China. They acknowledge the need to work together with China on global challenges as well as areas of common interest, including climate change, biodiversity, global health security, and gender equality.
“We reiterate our call for China to act as a responsible member of the international community. We stand prepared to work together to build constructive and stable relations through dialogue and to promote global economic recovery and people-to-people exchanges in a mutually beneficial way,” the statement read.
“It is in the interest of all countries, including China, to ensure transparent, predictable, and fair business environments. Legitimate business activities and interests of foreign companies must be protected from unfair, anti-competitive, and non-market practices, including through illegitimate technology transfer or data disclosure in exchange for market access,” the statement added.
Looking at various cyber-theft cases, G7 asked China to uphold its commitments to act responsibly in cyberspace, including refraining from conducting or supporting cyber-enabled intellectual property theft for commercial gain.
Talking about the peace in Taiwan, G7 reaffirmed the importance of stability across the Strait as an indispensable element in security and prosperity in the international community, and call for the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues. There is no change in the basic position of the G7 on Taiwan, including stated one China policies.
G7 also raised concerns with China on reported human rights violations and abuses, including in Xinjiang and Tibet.
“We reiterate our concerns over the continued erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy rights and freedoms and call on China to act in accordance with its international commitments and legal obligations, including those enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law,” the G7 said in a statement.
“We call on China to act in accordance with its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” the statement added.