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World / Asia-Pacific

Meddling not to help G7 plug clout drain

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-05-26 11:13

BEIJING - The annual Group of Seven (G7) summit is scheduled to kick off on Thursday in Ise-Shima, central Japan. The world is watching with great interest what the leaders of the seven major industrialized nations will discuss and say this year.

Established in the aftermath of the 1970s oil crisis, the G7, which groups the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan, aims to jointly address global economic problems with a focus on revitalizing the Western countries. It's undeniable that the group once played a crucial role in international affairs, both economically and politically.

However, with the end of the Cold War and the rapid changes in the global economic and political order -- especially the 2008 global financial crisis and the rise of the emerging economies -- the G7 has found its influence dwindling and its capability weakening in many ways.

Actually, most G7 countries are currently facing serious internal problems: The United States is crippled by partisan politics which has angered many voters and contributed to the rise of anti-establishment candidates like Donald Trump in the election year; the European Union is struggling with a possible "Brexit" and an unprecedented refugee crisis; and Japan has yet to find a way to leave behind decades of economic stagnation.

Inside the G7, there are also discord and disagreements on major political and financial issues, impairing the group's resolution and action. For example, finance chiefs of the G7 members are still at odds over the foreign exchange rate and coordinated steps to boost public spending after their two-day meeting that ended in Japan on Saturday. Member countries also hold different attitudes toward Russia, which was invited to join the group in the 1990s but was "suspended" in 2014 due to the Ukraine crisis.

Instead of dealing with all these problems, some G7 members are still making irresponsible remarks and trying to add irrelevant issues to the group's agenda.

During his recent tour to Europe and Southeast Asia, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has repeatedly expressed his so-called "concerns" over China's construction of civilian and public facilities on its South China Sea islands and reefs, describing it as an act of "militarization."

Analysts say that this actually reveals Japan's hidden agenda: to meddle in the South China Sea issue. A complete outsider in the South China Sea disputes, the country seems to be attempting to take advantage of its G7 summit host status and draw more "allies and sympathizers" to isolate China on this issue.

The United States is not stopping Japan from meddling, since Tokyo's agenda echoes its "Pivot to Asia" strategy.

But such action -- obviously provocative to China and also likely to cause an escalation of regional tension -- will turn out to be futile, as it exceeds the G7's current influence and capability. What's more, it reflects a lingering Cold War mindset.

The G7, in order not to become obsolete and even negatively affect global peace and stability, should mind its own business rather than pointing fingers at others and fueling conflicts.

More importantly, it should adapt to the changing global scenario and find a more constructive role to play.

There is a reason why the Group of 20 (G20) mechanism, which has a broader representation and thus greater economic influence, was established in the wake of the global financial meltdown. Moreover, the United Nations, a key world body in maintaining peace and stability, is assuming more and more importance in solving conflicts and coordinating efforts to address global challenges.

The G7 members, which are also in the G20 and the United Nations, should contribute more to the success of both mechanisms and help facilitate the much-needed global governance reforms. This would be a good way to justify the group's continued existence to the world.

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