White House officials on Saturday touted the “convergence” of G7 leaders during this week’s summit ahead of the final day of events, speaking positively, but broadly, about agreement on China.
Despite differences over China during the morning plenary session, a senior administration official told reporters Saturday evening that those “areas of convergence” included “working together to respond to China’s non-market economic practices, … being willing to speak out on human rights abuses, including in Xinjiang – and more than just speaking out, taking action, responding to forced labor in supply chains.”
The official compared the progress this week to the 2018 G7 summit during the Trump administration, where “China wasn’t even explicitly mentioned” in that year’s communiqué, but entire paragraphs were devoted to North Korea and Russia. Yet the official would not give a direct answer as to whether China would be mentioned in this year’s communiqué when asked. That agreement is expected to be released “midday” Sunday, per the official.
And pressed on the official’s statement that the group agreed to “take action” against China’s practices, the official declined to specify whether any specific actions would be part of the communiqué.
But the official alluded broadly to agreement among the leaders, suggesting they affirmed “a positive agenda, while also being clear about what we don’t tolerate.”
"This G7 is about a positive agenda, not confronting China," the official said in a later statement. "And given some members didn’t even want to mention China just three years ago, this is a huge shift in a short period of time."
There was also a “lot of discussion” during the summit about how the G7 nations could work together to bolster supply chain resiliency, cooperation on technology standards, and support for low-income countries, all measures aimed at advancing strategic competition with China.
A second senior official hopped in at the end of the call after significant audio issues from the first official to reiterate that the US has “seen and felt and been encouraged by growing convergence” among the group in Cornwall this week, and that there is a sense that the G7 has a “strong common foundation” on its approach to China, broadly suggesting that they have “reached consensus on a number of points that are reflective of that shared approach.”