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China hits back as G7 opens in Japan

World Leaders Today Kicked Off Talks Dominated By The Global Economy And Worries Over China’s Growing Clout—and Were Told By Beijing To Keep Their Noses Out Of Its Business.

PTI | Updated on: 26 May 2016, 06:18:25 PM
China hits back as G7 opens in Japan


World leaders today kicked off talks dominated by the global economy and worries over China’s growing clout—and were told by Beijing to keep their noses out of its business.

Presidents and prime ministers from the Group of Seven rich nations are huddling in Japan for two days of discussions focused on how to stoke demand and encourage growth.

But China’s growing assertiveness, particularly in bitter territorial disputes in the South China Sea was providing ever-louder background music, with European Council President Donald Tusk saying the group needed to take a “tough stance” on the hot-button issue.

Beijing swiftly launched a stinging broadside against the G7 -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US—which it said should not pursue “selfish interests”.

“G7 should focus on its own duties, that is economic cooperation, it should not point fingers at something outside its portfolio,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing in Beijing.

The Xinhua news agency, Beijing’s official mouthpiece, reinforced the point with a blunt commentary that said the group “should mind its own business” and accused Japan of exploiting its host status to try to isolate China.

Both Washington and Tokyo—which is locked in a separate dispute with Beijing over islands in the East China Sea— have warned against China stoking tensions in the contested waters.

Beijing’s rebuke came as the G7 opened its 2016 summit at Ise-Shima, a mountainous region about 300 kilometres southwest of Tokyo.

Leaders, including US President Barack Obama—who is making a historic trip to the atomic-bombed city of Hiroshima tomorrow—visited Ise Jingu, a shrine complex that sits at the spiritual heart of Japan’s native Shintoism.

Abe’s decision to take his counterparts to the site— also a hotspot for domestic tourists—has raised eyebrows among some critics, however, who say Shinto retains some of the nationalist overtones with which it was imbued when it was the state religion.

Several bilateral meetings were expected throughout the day, with Trudeau lined up to meet Germany’s Angela Merkel and French leader Francois Hollande.

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First Published : 26 May 2016, 06:13:00 PM

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