Despite its calls for multilateralism, there is little doubt that the US still has China in its crosshairs and that the Quad is monitoring the dragon closely.
As top diplomats from the Group of Seven of western democracies or the G7 as they are better known converge to court new allies in London the debate seems fixed on three things: Covid-19, China and Climate Change. only this time, they seem to be going about it a different way.
The strength of the pandemic ravaging the world has amply demonstrated to even the strongest nations in the world that that global cooperation will be needed to get out of this global crisis.
Already two of the top diplomats from the seven countries, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, have set the tone by making statements of multilateralism ahead of the G7 summit.
"It is not our purpose to try to contain China or to hold China down,” Blinken told reporters at a news conference, while Raab spoke of building alliances rather than severing them.
However both diplomats were quick to add that the West would however, defend "the international rules based order" from subversive attempts by any country, including China.
"I 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 stated"We can see a shift towards that pattern of clusters of like-minded countries agile enough to work together."
Despite its calls for multilateralism, there is little doubt that China is still very much in the US’ crosshairs and that the Quad is monitoring the dragon closely. Talks between between Blinken and his Japanese counterpart Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Monday before the G7 foreign ministers' meeting saw the two countries agree to step up cooperation to deal with China’s aggression and to further strengthen their alliance to realise a free and open Indo-Pacific, Kyodo News reported.
Motegi and Blinken agreed to oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China and South China seas. They also shared concerns about the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," said the NHK World in its report, citing the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
The two leaders also discussed Myanmar and North Korea.
Unsurprisingly, in the US version of the meeting's readout, there was no mention of China in the State Department press release, given Blinken’s statement on not wanting to contain China the next day.
It is worth noting that another key player in this geopolitical equation is India, not just because of the recent and alarming Covid-19 trend the country has seen but also because it has been seen by the west as a counterweight to China’s undemocratic and unchecked aggression, for the longest time.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in London at G7 Foreign Ministers Meeting to discuss the current COVID-19 challenge India is facing as well as vaccine production capacity and supply chains. Jaishankar’s meeting with Blinken is the first in-person meeting between them.
According to sources, they have worked closely together in their previous capacities. Blinken assured Jaishankar that the US was monitoring developments closely and would respond positively to any Indian requirements.
Both discussed how greater Indian vaccine production can address both India's own needs and the requirement of global public health. India and the US will collaborate bilaterally, in Quad format and through multilateral initiatives, sources added.
The two ministers also exchanged views on the Indo-Pacific strategic landscape and reviewed the progress in practical cooperation in recent months. The conversation brought out the convergence of interests. It was agreed between the two that it was in mutual interest to work together. Both of them noted that climate action and clean energy can be areas of cooperation. Early operationalisation of the 2030 Clean Energy Agenda was also discussed, as per the sources.
Founded in 1975 as a forum for the West’s richest nations to discuss crises such as the OPEC oil embargo, the G7 this week is discussing China and Russia as well as battling the COVID-19 pandemic and the spread of climate change.
China’s spectacular economic and military rise over the past 40 years is seen as being among the most significant geopolitical events of recent times, alongside the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union which ended the Cold War.
Even without its broader alliance, the G7 still packs a punch: combined it is much bigger than China both economically and militarily.