G7, NATO leaders to ratchet up pressure on Russia, keep eye on China - U.S. officials

G7, NATO leaders to ratchet up pressure on Russia, keep eye on China – U.S. officials

A damaged tram is pictured at a bombed-out tram depot in Kharkiv, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, June 15, 2022. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

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WASHINGTON, June 22 (Reuters) – Leaders of the Group of Seven wealthy democracies and the NATO alliance will work to increase pressure on Russia over its war in Ukraine next week, while underscoring their continuing concerns about China, they said. top US officials on Wednesday.

President Joe Biden leaves Saturday to meet with other G7 leaders in southern Germany before heading to Madrid for a summit in which NATO is expected to announce plans to expand its forces in eastern Europe and Washington to lay out the steps to strengthen European security.

The inclusion, for the first time, of leaders from Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand at the NATO summit was intended to show that the war in Ukraine has not detracted from Western nations’ approach to China, the officials said. officials.

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The G7 leaders, meeting in an alpine castle an hour south of Munich on June 26-28, are also expected to address China’s “coercive economic practices,” which have become even more aggressive in recent years, one of the officials said.

“Russia’s war against Ukraine has boosted our partnerships around the world,” said a second official. “It also shows how Ukraine is not causing us to divert attention from China. Quite the opposite, in fact.”

Indeed, a new strategic concept to be endorsed by NATO leaders when they meet in Madrid on June 29-30 will address threats posed by Russia and, for the first time, China, the official said.

Germany, which leads the G7 this year, has also invited Argentina, India, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa to participate in select sessions of the summit.

G7 leaders will launch a new infrastructure initiative aimed at offering high-quality and transparent investment alternatives to low- and middle-income countries, the officials said, a clear reference to China’s Belt and Road project, which has been criticized for opaque contracts and onerous loan terms. .

“At the summit, we will present a concrete set of proposals to increase pressure on Russia and demonstrate our collective support for Ukraine,” one of the officials said, without elaborating.

The impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine by driving energy and food prices higher and endangering low- and middle-income countries will be another focal point, officials said.

“The leaders will also promote a worldview based on freedom and openness, not coercion, not aggression, not spheres of influence. They will strengthen our cooperation on economic, cyber and quantum issues, and in particular, challenges posed by China,” added the official.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will address both meetings virtually, laying out his battle plan to counter Russia and the security assistance his country needs to carry it out, US officials said.

Biden will meet bilaterally with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and will meet in Madrid with Spanish President Pedro Sánchez and King Felipe, the officials said.

There was no announcement about a bilateral meeting between Biden and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who is blocking plans for Finland and Sweden to join NATO, but one of the officials said Washington was confident Turkey’s concerns would be addressed. and a consensus could be reached.

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Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Humeyra Pamuk and Kanishka Singh; Edited by Richard Pullin and Leslie Adler

Our standards: the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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