The G7 started out as the G6 in the 1970’s when the club included France, Britain, West Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. Canada was later invited to join but the club has since refused entry to new members.
Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven countries are holding a summit in London with climate change, Myanmar, Libya, Syria and relations with Russia on the agenda. Britain has also invited representatives from India, South Korea and Australia to attend the three-day summit.
But the G7 summit – which will lay the groundwork for a summit of presidents and prime ministers in Cornwall next month – appears to be heavily focused on how to confront and combat China.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Britain was “holding Beijing to the commitments that they’ve made”, including on Hong Kong, which was promised a “one-nation, two-systems” model when it was handed back to China in 1997.
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “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. It is not our purpose to try to contain China or to hold China down.
But Blinken promised “robust cooperation” with Britain over the issue of the treatment of the Muslim Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang region where Microsoft and Apple have their workforce and over Beijing’s handling of the former British banking colony of Hong Kong.
Of the seven, Italy has the most pro-Chinese and in 2019 signed up for China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which seeks to build a modern “silk road” between Europe and the Far East, following in the footsteps of the great Venetian explorer Marco Polo.
The G7 ministers, who are meeting under strict Covid-19 protocols, will also discuss the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and increasing instability and lack of security in Africa’s Sahel.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point G-7 Summit Blog News 2021.