(May 30th, 2016) The Group of Seven (G7) leaders agreed on May 26 at their summit in Japan on the need to send a strong message to China about its maritime claims in the western Pacific, where an increasingly aggressive China has territorial disputes with Japan and several Southeast Asian nations. China has been seizing and militarizing some disputed islands and reefs in the region and threatening nations in the region that have challenged the seizures.
“Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe led a discussion on the current situation in the South China Sea and East China Sea. Other G7 leaders said it is necessary for G7 to issue a clear signal,” Japan’s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko told reporters after a session on foreign policy.
At a news conference late on Wednesday, Mr. Abe said that Japan welcomed China’s peaceful rise. But he repeated Tokyo’s opposition to acts aimed at changing the status quo by force and urging respect of the rule of law.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying retorted in Beijing that the South China Sea issue had “nothing to do” with the G7 or any of its members.
“China is resolutely opposed to individual countries hyping up the South China Sea for personal gain,” she said.
U.S. President Obama called on China to resolve maritime disputes peacefully and he reiterated that the United States was concerned about freedom of navigation and overflights in the region, through which 30 percent of world trade passes.
(May 30th, 2016) China has played down the U.S. decision to lift a decades-old ban on sales of arms to Vietnam because it is trying to avoid worsening relations already strained by Chinese military expansionism in the South China Sea.
On May 24, a day after U.S. President Obama expressed his desire for closer U.S. economic and military ties with Vietnam, the vice foreign ministers of China and Vietnam met in a Chinese border province to discuss their relationship.
“China and Vietnam are friendly neighbors connected by mountains and rivers,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a news conference. China, Ms. Hua said, is willing to work with Vietnam to implement a range of legal agreements “to elevate boundary management and cooperation.”
That suggests that Beijing wants to reassure the Vietnamese that the two communist nations should put their shared interests above their dispute over who owns what in the South China Sea, especially as the Obama administration offers more support to Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries worried about China’s expansionism.
The leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized democracies agreed May 26 to help the middle class worldwide, by spurring economic growth, fighting corruption and clamping down on international tax evasion by the rich.
The agreement was reached during the first session of the G7 summit in Japan.
“We had discussion on the world economy and agreed that the world economy is facing . . . a major risk,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters after the session.
To cope with that risk, the G7 members agreed to compile a set of economic measures to be called the Ise-Shima Economic Initiative, named for the location of the summit.
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As part of its growing efforts to expand its global power, China, the world’s second biggest economy, says it wants to develop its raw-material markets as world hubs for setting prices, in an effort to, among other things, gain much more power in determining how much commodities cost. Of course, having control over commodities and commodities pricing has geopolitical-security implications too.
“We’re facing a chance of a lifetime to become a global pricing center for commodities,” Fang Xinghai, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said at the Shanghai Futures Exchange’s annual conference in the city on Wednesday. “On the way to realize this goal, we’ll see very intense competition. We have the advantage of trading size and economic growth, but our legislation is still not sound and we lack enough talent.”