In a communique issued yesterday, G7 foreign ministers said China was guilty of human rights abuses and of using “coercive economic policies”, vowing to use collective efforts to stop. The G7 also said they supported Taiwan’s participation in World Health Organization (WHO) forums and the World Health Assembly – as well as expressing concern about “any unilateral actions that could escalate tensions” in the Taiwan Strait.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin responded by angrily condemning what he dismissed as the statement’s “groundless accusations”.
He said: “This is the wanton destruction of the norms of international relations.”
Wang urged the G7 as a group should take concrete action to boost the global economic recovery instead of disrupting it.
He also attacked G7 countries for hoarding COVID-19 vaccines and having a “wishy-washy” stance towards helping other countries.
He added: “They should not criticise and interfere in other countries with a high-and-mighty attitude, undermining the current top priority of international anti-pandemic cooperation.”
Wang also addressed China’s decision to indefinitely suspended all activity under a China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue in the latest setback for strained relations between the two countries.
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China regards Taiwan as part of its own territory and is therefore vehemently opposed to any official Taiwan representation on an international level.
President Xi Jinping has stepped up military activities near Taiwan in recent months, trying to assert his country’s sovereignty claims.
By contrast, the G7 statement was warmly received in Taipei, where the government said this was the first time the foreign ministers had mentioned the island in their joint communique.
Taiwan’s Presidential Office thanked the G7 for its support.
Spokesman Xavier Chang said: “Taiwan will keep deepening the cooperative partnership with G7 member countries, and continue to contribute the greatest positive force to global health and people’s well-being, as well as the peace, stability, and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.”
The statement, issued after yesterday’s G7 summit in London, and signed by among others Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, said: “In line with its obligations under international and national law, we call on China to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“We continue to be deeply concerned about human rights violations and abuses in Xinjiang and in Tibet, especially the targeting of Uighurs, members of other ethnic and religious minority groups, and the existence of a large-scale network of ‘political re-education’ camps, and reports of forced labour systems and forced sterilisation.
“We agree the importance of tackling instances of forced labour through our own available domestic means, including through raising awareness and providing advice and support for our business communities.”
Foreign ministers were “united” in concerns regarding practices which “undermine free and fair economic systems”, including on trade, investment and development finance”.
The statement added: “We will work collectively to foster global economic resilience in the face of arbitrary, coercive economic policies and practices.
“We urge China to assume and fulfil obligations and responsibilities commensurate with its global economic role.”