G7 presses China to put real pressure on Russia

The U.S., the EU and other Group of Seven wealthy democracies on Saturday called on Beijing to “resolutely” urge Russia to stop the war in Ukraine, adding to previous warnings against economic or military assistance for the Kremlin.

The call came after China failed to echo what French President Emmanuel Macron claimed was a shared goal with Chinese President Xi Jinping regarding a “ceasefire” in Ukraine. Beijing made no mention of the message after the Tuesday call, while it continued to criticize the West for sending arms to Ukraine.

In a lengthy statement issued after a meeting in Berlin, the G7 foreign ministers sent an unusually tough message to China, calling for peace and stability in Taiwan amid diplomatic fears about stepped-up Chinese military pressure on the self-ruled island.

Beijing’s “no limits” partnership with Moscow, concluded weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine, has alarmed Western countries about whether China might undermine the effect of their sanctions on Russia. China has repeatedly said it doesn’t view the sanctions as legitimate, adding that it would conduct normal trading activities with Russia.

“We encourage China to support, in line with international law, the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine and the integrity of its internationally recognized borders and to resolutely urge Russia to stop its military aggression against Ukraine,” the G7 statement read.

“We call on China not to assist Russia in its war of aggression against Ukraine, not to undermine sanctions imposed on Russia for its attack against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, not to justify Russian action in Ukraine, and to desist from engaging in information manipulation, disinformation and other means to legitimize Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” it said, though stopping short of spelling out what consequences could follow.

The G7 consists of the U.S., Germany, France, Italy, the U.K., Japan, Canada as well as the EU.

The group also asked China to “act responsibly” in cyberspace, “refraining from conducting or supporting cyber-enabled intellectual property theft for commercial gain.”

With U.N. human-rights chief Michelle Bachelet scheduled to visit Xinjiang later this month, the G7 urge the Chinese authorities to “allow immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang and Tibet for independent observers, including the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and her potential visit to China.” Beijing has maintained a high-handed approach to the Uyghur Muslims in the region, including by sending them to re-education camps.

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