The G7 summit U.S. President Joe Biden attends in Japan this week will show leaders unified behind a common approach to dealing with China based on shared values, even while recognizing each country will manage its own relationship with Beijing, a senior U.S. administration official said on Monday.
Biden's Japan visit will show that Washington can both support Ukraine and maintain an unprecedented level of engagement with the Indo-Pacific region, the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
After the three-day summit starting Friday, Biden will make a brief, historic stop in Papua New Guinea, then travel to Australia for a meeting of the grouping known as the Quad countries.
Asked whether the leaders of the group of seven rich nations - Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States - would be able to show unity in dealing with China, the world's second largest economy and the main challenge to U.S. global supremacy, the official replied:
"While the G7 is a consensus-driven group, the hosts do play a big role in setting the agenda and the Japanese are very, very concerned with economic security issues writ large, including vis-a-vis China.
"I think that what you can expect is that G7 leaders will make clear that we’re all unified and united behind a common approach grounded in common values. And at the same time, that each G7 country is going to manage its own relationship with China, but that we’re all aligned around the principles that will guide all of our relationships."
The official said that while this was "one of the more complex issues" for the G7 meetings in Hiroshima, the United States was "very optimistic."
Differences among the nations about how to deal with China emerged after French President Emmanuel Macron visited Beijing last month. He called for the European Union to reduce its dependence on the U.S. and cautioned the EU not to get drawn into a crisis over Taiwan driven by an "American rhythm and a Chinese overreaction."
Two years ago in Britain, G7 leaders chided China on human rights.
The U.S. official said the G7 would focus on the need to support developing countries hit by recent shocks, including debt and climate change, and leaders would rally around the need for bold action to accelerate the transition to clean energy.
Asked if a G7-wide agreement could be expected on limiting the export of semiconductor technology to China and whether there was consensus on this issue, the official said:
"There's a consensus on the need to ensure security of technology. I don't want to get ahead of the discussions in terms of what agreement there will be, but I think amongst the countries that are the most significant players on semiconductors, there's very broad agreement and a significant degree of consensus.
"I think you should expect to see general agreement on principles to define the relationships with China coming out of this."
The official said he expected a trilateral summit on the G7 sidelines between Biden and the leaders of Japan and South Korea to cover economic security, expansion of military exercises and their shared concerns about North Korea.
The May 24 meeting of the Quad - Australia, India, Japan and the United States - was likely to bring new steps in security and digital connectivity, investment in cutting-edge technology, infrastructure capacity-building, climate and clean energy, he said. (Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Steve Holland; editing by Jonathan Oatis)