Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, and UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called for a revitalized and expanded alliance of G7 countries determined to defend open societies and rules-based order from threats posed by Chinese and Russian autocracies.
Speaking after a meeting in London on Monday, Raab said he saw “a growing demand and need for an agile group of like-minded countries willing to protect the multilateral system.”
He said the fact that the UK had invited Australia, South Korea, India and South Africa to the G7 foreign ministers meeting in London was “a sign that we can see a shift towards a model of a like-minded country working together ”.
Raab said the door to diplomacy was always open with autocracies, but also warned Russian President Vladimir Putin to end his “saber-rattling brinkmanship on Ukraine’s border, cyber attacks and the disinformation and the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, that was not only a violation of human rights but a use of chemical weapons on Russian soil ”.
Blinken said that “the objective of the United States is not to contain or maintain China,” adding, “What we are trying to do is to maintain the rules-based international order, in which our countries have invested so much for so many decades. in the interest, I would support not only our own citizens, but also people around the world, including, by the way, China.
“And when a country – China or whatever – takes action that defies or undermines or seeks to erode this rules-based order and does not live up to the commitments they made to that order, we will stand up and stand up for it. ‘order. ”
Prior to his trip to the UK, Blinken accused China of repression at home and aggression abroad. But he told CBS 60 Minutes that a military conflict between the world’s two largest economies served neither of their interests.
Raab said London and Washington “agreed” on China’s challenge to their shared values. He also urged Beijing to mobilize and fully play its role on issues such as climate change.
In remarks that highlight how far the United States has moved from Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ era, Blinken said, “The challenge for us is to demonstrate that we can meet the needs. of our citizens and when we look at most of the issues impacting their lives, be it this pandemic, climate change or the disruptive impact of new technologies, not a single one can be satisfied by a only country acting alone, not even the United States.
The wider G7 talks on Tuesday and Wednesday are likely to cover major international crises, but the unifying theme will likely be the defense of open societies, from Myanmar and Libya to Syria. Joe Biden has promised to hold a summit of democracies, an event Raab referred to.
Blinken also praised the “special relationship” between the two countries, saying the United States had “no closer ally, no closer partner”. He sidestepped the opportunity to call on the UK for its recent cuts to its overseas aid budget and avoided explicit criticism of how the UK jeopardized the Friday deal saint with the Brexit deal.
Blinken also denied that the United States did not consult its allies before the major foreign policy decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan by September – saying the decision was unanimously approved by the NATO.
He insisted that the United States was not cutting and running, saying, “We have made it clear that by withdrawing our forces from Afghanistan, we will protect them and take decisive action in response to any attack. We have also made it clear that our forces are reducing, but we are not withdrawing. We intend to be very active diplomatically in trying to advance a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban. “
Both men denied that there had been any progress in organizing the release of binationals detained in Iran, but Blinken said, “We need to take a stand on arbitrary detention for political purposes. I hope that with time and effort countries should set a standard that this practice is unacceptable.