What’s in a phone call? Well, when it’s from China’s leader to the presidents of Germany and France then maybe it’s something beyond idle chit-chat. And, when it comes on the heels of the G7 summit which Xi Jinping dismissed as international politics of the past, then it is more than a matter of curiosity. And when what’s on offer is reportedly a deal between China and Europe’s two most powerful economies to collaborate on African development then it’s time to sit up and listen.
The G7 summit held in mid-June, which brought Japan and the traditional Western powers to the UK, was billed as the restoration of the American role as the fulcrum of global power and a renewal of the unity of purpose between the seven industrial states. One point of discussion at the meeting was China and its growing global reach. While G7 leaders all agreed they need to address Beijing’s expanding influence around the world, they did not reach any consensus on how to meet that challenge.
The Chinese side, for its part, was not impressed. After the Cornwall summit, the embassy in London said:
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