Sun Chenghao, professor at the Institute of American Institute, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, in Global Times (December 19, 2020)
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: G7 UK)
The British government issued invitations to India, South Korea and Australia to participate in the G7 summit in 2021 and form a so-called "Democracy 10" (D10). Although there has been no mention of China, many are speculating that responding to the “China challenge” will be a key issue addressed at the summit.
The G7, which is dominated by the US and Europe, is full of differences which cannot be resolved, even with Joe Biden taking office. The differences will become unavoidable challenges.
First, the US and Europe have completely different perceptions of the world situation. The Trump administration’s judgment of the international situation was extremely pessimistic and perceived the world as facing fierce economic and political challenges. Europe, however, still optimistically believes in the benefits of international cooperation.
Second, there is an inconsistent view of security. The Trump administration listed China and Russia as strategic competitors. Europe, meanwhile, believes the main security threats facing the world are transnational issues such as terrorism, infectious diseases, and climate change.
Third, the US emphasizes hard power while Europe stresses soft power. Biden supports strengthening the US military. Europe, however, believes that it should exert regulatory power in international affairs rather than pursue military force.
The main objective of the US is to maintain its hegemony, while Europe is more concerned about the peaceful environment needed for its own development, upholding its values and taking care of the concerns and interests of its allies. On the issue of competition with China, these two approaches clash. The three Indo-Pacific countries invited by the UK to the G7 summit also have their own unique views, making it even more difficult for this improvised alliance to form an “anti-China” consensus.